It’s a year since Amazon launched in Australia, yet many local retailers are still unconvinced about the power of an omnichannel approach. The truth is, it’s never been easier to list products and get selling, enabling more and more local businesses capitalise on the world’s fastest growing marketplace.
There’s been a lot of air time given to Amazon over the last twelve months. It started with months of speculation prior to the company’s Australian launch, followed by a steady stream of analysis and criticism when it finally did arrive. Much of the negative feedback was from customers who were initially unimpressed with the breadth of product on offer and perturbed by a supposed lack of bargains.
When it was announced that Australian buyers would be effectively locked out of the US store due to issues associated with GST collection and disbursement, the outrage reached new heights. The company has since announced a reversal on this policy, enabling Australian shoppers to order directly from Amazon.com once again.
My thoughts on Amazon remain unchanged. As I’ve said before, the company is known for playing the long game. It is also unfailingly committed to delivering on customer expectation, so it’s obviously worked hard to find a solution to the GST issues and get international shipping back on the table for local buyers.
We know that more and more Australians are opting to buy online. As shown in our State of Ecommerce report, released earlier this year, one third of online transactions for Australian ecommerce merchants now comes through marketplaces.
In other words, we can now concede that Amazon is now a permanent part of the Australian retail landscape, so smart retailers are not only getting on board, but looking for ways to streamline the operational aspects of an omnichannel selling approach.
When it comes to the online selling environment, we constantly speak with our customers so that we can better understand the prevailing attitudes toward changing conditions and new challenges. A recent snap poll gave us some amazing insight into listing and selling on the Amazon platform.
We asked Neto customers if they currently sell on Amazon or intend to in the short term — not a single respondent said they had no intention of selling on Amazon. This means we know that the platform is on the radar for all of retailer customers. What we were surprised to learn is that a whopping 67% currently don’t list their products, although they aim to at some point. This begs the question — what has stopped them from already getting on the Amazon train?
It turns out that one in ten thought the product registration process was a little unwieldly and time consuming. As any small business owner knows, there’s only so many hours in a day and they need to be spent in ways that deliver the greatest returns. We found that listing products one by one in Amazon Seller Central works for sellers with a few products but is cumbersome when listing multiple products or lots of variations. The process for bulk upload involves a completing spreadsheet with just under 200 columns, which is not only a daunting task, it’s near impossible to scale efficiently.
With that in mind, we developed what we believe is an Australian first, a set and forget method for uploading bulk products in as little as 10 minutes. In just a few clicks, merchants can list an entire category of products in half the time required to create a single product using the existing processes.
Faster registration means not only saving time, but also beating the competition. First-mover advantage means merchants can immediately start building a long-term seller history and gives you an invaluable head start on feedback and reviews. Search rankings improve as well and getting there first means increasing your chances of owning the product page for a specific SKU. All of this adds up and pushes you closer to the Amazon holy grail — winning the Buy Box.
The beauty of an integrated omnichannel platform is that the back end takes care of itself – stock levels, inventory decrementing, picking, packing and dispatch are all automatically managed. Order status and tracking information is pushed back to Amazon, so your customer always knows where their order is. It couldn’t be easier.
Don’t get left behind
While Amazon is certainly in it for the long-haul, it’s not messing about when it comes to attracting new merchants. In the first 42 days of operation, it surpassed 5,000 sellers. Less than two months later, that number had doubled, making it Australia’s fastest growing marketplace relative to size.
For retailers still sitting on the fence, the message is clear — it’s time to get on the Amazon train. But getting on is only half the story. To really capitalise on the benefits of marketplace selling, you should consider investing in a platform that takes the spreadsheet struggle out of the equation, saving you time and hassle, while beating your competitors to the punch.
Ryan Murtagh is the CEO of Neto.