Amazon Go - the warning shot that signals an Aussie September launch?

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 6 December 2016
In-store: Amazon Go

Amazon fired a series of shots indicating its future plans in the retail space last night with the unveiling of its bricks and mortar grocery proposition, Amazon Go.

Amazon Go’s arrival not only showed the company’s intentions in the US, but could also hint at its plans for Australia: is a third quarter launch looking more likely now that ever?

The first Amazon Go store will open next year near the company’s Seattle headquarters, and will not feature checkouts or queues. Instead, shoppers will scan into the store with the Amazon app on their mobile, get tracked as they walk through the store and pick up purchases, while the bill for basket of groceries will be automatically docked from the customer’s account. The concept is literally, ‘pick up and go’.

Amazon issued a promotional (or, explainer) video to reveal the concept (note: attribution geeks - delight!)

Amazon’s move into the physical realm has been mooted for some time in the States, but has only started to circulate in Australia in the past six to eight months.

The Sydney Morning Herald only three weeks ago revealed that the online giant has plans to open a series of physical stores in Australia next year, which would most likely operate in smaller premises, much like an Aldi and less like a Woolworths or Coles.

Amazon Go certainly gives credence to the rumours that the company will launch with a small number of city-based grocery stores in Australia.

Where it may also get interesting is the fact that a local physical launch is likely to be paired with an online retail and TV/music streaming boost – meaning that the full-service Amazon Prime offering could also be replicated in Australia next year.

The timing of an Australian launch is unknown. However, speculation might suggest that Amazon would look to tie-in a large TV debut, or rollout, with the online push in order to hook in local customers.

Two such shows could be Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, both Emmy and Golden Globae-winning, they will run new episodes in September next year. Transparent, which has been a massive success for Amazon Studios, currently airs on Stan in Australia; whether it will remain with that network remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Aussie customers are also likely to be drawn on the back of Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear replica on Amazon Prime, on the basis that the BBC original was one of Australia’s all-time most popular imported shows.

Amazon has $US1 of every $US2 of e-commerce sales in the US and its market share continues to grow two decades after it was founded by Jeff Bezos.

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