Harvey Norman and other retailers across Australia could soon be under threat if Amazon’s plan to roll out more than 3,000 cashier-less stores becomes a reality.
The American technology giant aims to have all the planned Amazon Go stores established by 2021, and will almost certainly see outlets opened in Australia.
The cashier-less Amazon Go stores are already up and running in four locations across the US (three in Seattle and one in Chicago), with customers able to buy items without the need for cash.
American technology giant Amazon plans to establish the 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021, which will almost certainly see outlets opened in Australia
Australian retail expert Geoff Dart said Amazon would find it harder to break into the Australian market given a long term preference for ‘bricks-and-mortar’ shopping.
‘Here, shopping is like a day out and shopping centres have reinvented themselves as entertainment venues, with features like world-class restaurants and bowling alleys,’ he told The Australian.
But Amazon might have found a way around that obstacle if it starts launching physical, cashier-less stores in the country, combined with its online presence.
Mr Dart said outlets like Harvey Norman already provide online and in-store offerings for customers, meaning it is likely to be one of Amazon Go’s biggest competitors.
‘[Harvey Norman has] online trading platforms that are up there with anything offered overseas in terms of ease of transaction,’ Mr Dart said.
Harvey Norman and other retailers across Australia could soon be under threat if Amazon’s plan to roll out more than 3,000 cashier-less stores becomes a reality
One obstacle for Amazon would be cost, with Bloomberg estimating that each store would set the company back US$1 million ($1.4 million)
‘And they also have extensive retail footprints that allow customers to exchange goods pretty easily, with no fuss. That’s something that Amazon find hard to match, because they don’t have a physical footprint in Australia.’
Another obstacle for Amazon would be cost, with Bloomberg estimating that each store would set the company back $1.4 million.
But if successful, supermarkets as well as retailers like JB Hifi and Caltex will also come under threat from the US giant.
Caltex has teamed up with Woolworths for an improved convenience retail offering at its petrol stations, but its share price dropped 1.7 per cent yesterday afternoon to $29.20, according to Fool.com.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia earlier this year, millionaire businessman Dick Smith said that Amazon had a very successful formula for launching businesses.
The entrepreneur said it was used in countries like Australia with relatively high minimum wages.
‘How do they get around it? They virtually don’t employ anyone, they automate everything. That’s where they are brilliant in their endless greed,’ he said.
However, Mr Dart noted that in last month’s profit reports, the majority of Australian retailers didn’t mention Amazon.
‘None of the retailers say they’ve been troubled by Amazon,’ he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Harvey Norman for comment.
Outlets like Harvey Norman already provide this online and in-store offering for customers, suggesting it is likely to be one of Amazon Go’s biggest competitors