Four things we learned from Amazon’s Australian seller summit

Emma Koehn /

Amazon's seller summit in Sydney on Monday. Source: Supplied.

As Australian shoppers start to prepare their Christmas lists, local retailers are finding out the first details of Amazon’s soon-to-arrive Australian offering.

Secrecy has been the name of the game since the retail platform confirmed in April it plant to take a tilt at the Australian market, and this didn’t change even as suppliers attended an Amazon ‘Supplier Summit’ in Sydney on Monday.

Asked when customers could expect to start shopping on the Amazon platform, Australian country manager Rocco Braeuniger told the crowd the retailer was getting “really, really close”, reports Fairfax.

Retail analysts have long predicted the company would make a splash with a Black Friday sales event in line with other Thanksgiving sales deals — but ten days out, an exact launch date for Amazon is still unknown.

There is, however, a picture emerging for suppliers about the opportunities available to them via Amazon’s platform, and what these will cost. Here are four things that were revealed at Monday’s meeting.

1. Shoppers will have access to Marketplace and Amazon retail platforms

A reported 500 third-party suppliers have signed up the Amazon Marketplace platform, with the retail giant promising Australian businesses they will gain access to 300 million shoppers globally. Amazon says it now generates half its annual sales from the Marketplace platform, but yesterday’s meeting also revealed Amazon will also launch its own product suite.

This means Australian shoppers will have access to Amazon’s own brands and delivery services, as well as being able to shop from third-party brands through the Marketplace site.

Co-owner of baby accessory business Hip Cub, Kevin Lippy, told the crowd on Monday that using Marketplace as a supplier had opened up his business to markets including Canada and the UK, “which we could have never done on our own”, according to a statement from Amazon.

2. Supplier fees have been revealed

Retailers have long been promised that Marketplace would open the world to them for a low fee, and the exact scale of these fees in the Australian market have now been revealed.

Amazon Australia has confirmed retailers will pay $49.95 a month to use the Marketplace platform, plus pay a commission of between six and fifteen percent on purchases.

3. The Spanish game plan will be followed

Retail experts had anticipated that Amazon would take a slow approach to Australian expansion, citing the example of the company’s entry to the Canadian market, which was a decade-long process of rolling out different product categories.

However, the retail giant is claiming it will roll things out Down Under with much greater speed.

Braeuniger told Monday’s crowd that Amazon would instead be using the same game plan from its Spanish launch, introducing several product categories at once and then amping these up, reports Fairfax.

He said he had a long-term plan to earn the trust of both local customers and Australian businesses.

4. Fashion and consumer goods lead pack

There is speculation that Amazon will use its own retail platform to launch a new clothing offering in Australia in coming months.

This is a departure from technology and lifestyle goods Australian shoppers might already be more familiar with through the platform, but branding experts told SmartCompany yesterday the retailer has enough brand equity to expand into any category.

Guests at yesterday’s supplier meeting covered the sectors of childrens’ goods, lifestyle brands and beauty suppliers, with the retail giant suggesting all sectors stand to benefit from using Marketplace to expand overseas.

While the company is still secretive about the exact nature of its own product offering, it is encouraging customers across a number of categories to think about signing up to the platform.

Amazon is also not phased by the size of companies coming on board, with the company using an online supplier portal to call for expressions of interest and explain that all Aussie brands should apply.

“Whether your business is new or you are looking to grow your sales, Amazon can provide you with an e-commerce solution to meet your needs,” the company says.

Never miss a story: sign up to SmartCompany’s free daily newsletter and find our best stories on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior SmartCompany journalist.