Amazon Australia is coming: Everything you need to know

Amazon is set to launch its online retail service in Australia. This means that you will soon - probably by this Friday - be able to buy everything from food to electronics without paying exorbitant international shipping fees.

As the launch inches closer, more and more questions are being answered about Amazon's arrival in the Great Southern Land.

The US-based mega corporation has dominated every market it has chosen to enter, leaving CEO Jeff Bezos very rich and its huge customer base very satisfied.

If Amazon Australia can deliver on the holy trinity of product choice, speed and price, there's no reason to think Australia will be any different.

Here's a primer of the available information we have so far, along with some expert analysis for the things we don't.

What is Amazon?

Amazon is an e-commerce giant that was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and started as a bookstore.

Currently, it is the fourth most valuable publicly traded company in the world behind Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.

Amazon's logo has an arrow pointing from A to Z because they now don't just sell books, but everything from A to Z.

The arrow also looks like a smile, so that's cute.

How do I access Amazon Australia?

Amazon's Australia website will be operational at www.amazon.com.au.

Currently, you can access the website to purchase books and apps, but not any of the products you find in international retailers, like video games, baby, beauty and tech products.

When is Amazon coming to Australia?

Amazon Australia's launch date remains shrouded in mystery. However, all signs point towards sometime before, or on, America's biggest online sales day: Black Friday, November 24. We've speculated on this for a few weeks now and although some reports suggest that before this Friday is a definite, we're no closer to finding out the official date.

Where will Amazon operate from?

Amazon have officially opened their 24,000 square metre centre in Melbourne's Dandenong South. The flagship fulfillment centre will be located in the Pellicano's M2 Industry Park, providing easy access to the South Gippsland Highway, Monash Highway and Eastlink.

Amazon's head office will be located in Sydney and will be helmed by Rocco Braeuniger, who takes on the role of Country Manager and was previously director of consumables at Amazon Germany.

How many products will Amazon sell?

Amazon's original, official launch statement promised "hundreds of thousands of products". However, it's not entirely clear whether this number relates to individual product types or total available stock across all categories.

Amazon will also launch Amazon Marketplace in Australia as part of their entry into the country. This allows third-party retailers to list their products on the website and set their own pricing, similar to the experience you'd get on eBay. In this case, the amount of products that Amazon sell should skyrocket. More than half of Amazon's output comes through Marketplace.

What types of product does Amazon sell?

From what we've been able to gather so far via Google searches and poking around Amazon Australia's website, there are quite a range of products that will be available for purchase come launch. We've been able to find underwear, laptops, computer accessories, monitors, cables, toys, speakers and headphones. Further to this, based on these searches, Amazon will be launching Amazon Basics — its 'home brand' line of products — when it launches in Australia.

Initially, it seemed that food delivery may be a priority, with Amazon's former global logistics senior manager, Brittain Ladd claiming that a separate "Amazon Fresh" site will be part of the launch. However, a recent survey of food suppliers by investment bank UBS revealed that Amazon has only been talking to packaged food and non-food grocery suppliers, which suggests fresh food won't be part of the initial roll out.

With that said, the inclusion of non-fresh food at the launch does seem likely. Amazon has been talking to around a quarter of Australia's grocery suppliers in this segment. This notion is also backed by the hiring of a country manager with a consumables background.

How can I buy products on Amazon Australia?

To begin buying on Amazon Australia, all you need to do is head to the website and create an account. If you already have an account with Amazon US, you can use that to log in to the Australian website too.

If you have signed up for a new account on the Australian website but have a US account as well, note that there is no way to merge or link accounts.

How can I sell products on Amazon Australia?

Information about the Amazon Marketplace trickled out of the Amazon Australian Sellers Summit, which took place in Sydney on November 13. If you're looking to sell on the Amazon Marketplace, then take a look at the article here.

Attendees of the Summit will be given priority to get an invitation to sell on the Marketplace, but if you couldn't be there, you can also head to the Amazon Services website and throw in a few contact details. Once Amazon launches, they will contact potential sellers with further information. It is widely expected that further down the track, online signup will become available.

How fast will products be delivered by Amazon?

Speed is expected to be a big deciding factor in Amazon's level of success. If it can beat local retailers on delivery time and price, the battle is basically over.

According to Ladd, Amazon will be launching an Australian version of its premium Prime service, which provides faster shipping to members alongside other perks. Amazon has also promised "fast delivery" as one of its core strategies.

There's still no word on whether Amazon will be bringing in its own courier service or relying on third parties for delivery. Either way, its entry Down Under is sure to put existing supply chains and logistics providers under new pressure.

A report by the Financial Review confirmed that Australia Post would be attempting to partner with Amazon to provide express delivery services. That may make you a little sceptical about delivery times, considering some of the Australia Post horror stories and issues encountered during a particularly recent nationwide survey, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Will Amazon Prime be available In Australia?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Yes, but not immediately.

If you're unaware, Amazon Prime is Amazon's subscription service that gives members access to a range of benefits. Currently, we're unaware what these benefits will look like in Australia, but based on what we see in the US, we can make a few guesses about it.

In the US, the service costs $US99 a year, or $US10.99 a month. Prime gives users access to free two-day shipping and free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes in the US. This subscription also includes access to Prime Now, which gives you access to two-hour delivery for certain products. The list of benefits runs deep in the US and you can take a look at the full list here.

If you think you've heard of Amazon Prime before, you may be thinking of their video streaming service which is also inconveniently called 'Amazon Prime' Video and launched in Australia last year. This service is related to Amazon Prime in the US, where you get it for free with your subscription, but in Australia, a subscription only gives you access to Amazon Prime streams.

Is Amazon going to kill local jobs?

This is Gerry Harvey's nightmare scenario.

There can be little doubt that Amazon's presence in Australia will affect local retail: that's what disruptors do. However, it will also be injecting a swag of new, locally sourced jobs into the economy.

The company has already begun a recruiting drive across a range of verticals, including operations managers, pickers, packers, systems technicians and HR specialists. Provided Amazon makes a dent in the online retail space in Australia, that job injection should continue in the years to come.

With that said, it's clear that local retailers will need to adapt if they hope to compete.