Amazon Australia has launched an online booze store and delivery service, in a move that could disrupt legacy players such as Dan Murphy’s and BWS, but will likely cause headaches for startups and small businesses too.
Through the new service, shoppers will be able to order beers, wines, spirits and mixers, including big-name brands such as Corona, VB and Tanquerey, as well as up-and-coming local brands including SOFI Spritz, Curatif Cocktails and Lawrenny Estate.
“Australian brewers, distillers and wine makers make some of the world’s best beverages,” Matt Furlong, Amazon Australia country manager, said in a statement.
“We’re particularly thrilled to work with local brands at launch and help them access our customers, marketing tools and logistics expertise to grow their business.”
Amazon Australia has cleverly got around ‘the age issue’ too, in order to avoid pulling an Afterpay. Shoppers will have to verify they are over 18 at checkout by inputting their date of birth.
Delivery drivers will then be required to verify age at drop-off. Unattended delivery will not be supported, the statement says.
However, it doesn’t look like Amazon will be able to match the same-day delivery service offered by some of its smaller, more nimble competitors.
But hey, if you can add a case of Hardy’s to your order of books and boardgames, maybe it’s worth the wait.
“Customers will be able to experience the convenience of ordering their favourite wine, beer or spirits alongside all the other products available on Amazon.com.au, from household essentials, fashion and beauty, through to video games and books,” Furlong said.
The global e-commerce giant is muscling in an increasingly crowded space in Australia. The move may well prove disruptive to small businesses and startups in the space, such as Tipple — now majority-owned by 7-Eleven — which has been delivering booze to Aussie doors since 2015.
It’s also a sector that has seen gains due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen more people staying, and drinking, at home on the weekend.
Whisky subscription startup Whisky Loot has seen an unexpected sales spike recently, with founder Joel Hauer theorising people were turning to premium tipples to “tolerate the apocalypse”.
Online craft beer retailers Beer Cartel and Brewquets also saw sales skyrocket to twice the volume of the same time last year, and Emperor Champagne, the e-commerce arm of The Champagne Dame, saw a 200% sales boost.
The virus has led to new entrants too. After losing six months worth of bookings within a week, events business Wat’s On Events made a speedy pivot to booze delivery, using now surplus stock and a licence it had in its back pocket to launch Boozi, a business delivering alcoholic bundles to Sydney doorsteps.