Amazon Australia seems to have moved up a gear after going live less than six months ago, launching its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service for retailer customers in late February and sharpening prices significantly – at least as far as cameras are concerned.
Retailers selling on Amazon Marketplace are now able to send their products to Amazon’s Melbourne fulfillment centre and pay for their orders to be stored, picked, packed and shipped to consumers in Australia and overseas, as well as FBA handling returns.
Products shipped through FBA are covered by Amazon’s customer service, including free and relatively fast delivery.
A random survey of camera prices this week sees the Amazon.AU store at or near the lowest price for most of the cameras checked. And those Amazon pricing algorithms seem to have kicked in, with the Amazon option often having auto-adjusted pricing like $717.13 for the Coolpix P900.
When we first looked at Amazon camera pricing at launch time there appeared to be no cause for alarm, but things have changed. So back then the Nikon D610 body was being offered by Amazon.AU for $1897. Today it is $1793 – and it may well change again tomorrow! Back then the Canon 5D Mk IV body was at $4855 on the Amazon.AU store. Today it is $4698.
In some examples, the Amazon.AU price is punishing. For example, the Canon EOS 200D with 18-55mm IS STM lens (RRP $899) is $749 from Amazon.AU while the next best price is $848 + $16.50 delivery. But interestingly, in most examples where the Amazon.AU price is dramatically lower than the rest of the market, the product is invariably ‘Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we’ll deliver when available.’ Is this a tactic to poach sales from Amazon Marketplace retailers holding inventory? The $100 dearer alternative EOS 200D is available for immediate delivery.
As noted, the popular Nikon Coolpix P900 ultrazoom compact (RRP $899) is at the weird but low price of just $717.13, which actually undercuts the best grey market price and bests a couple of local retailers by a modest $20 or so. In this case, the product is in stock from Amazon, which also offers the best (and free) delivery time.
Going way up-market to the Canon EOS 5D MkIV with EF 24-105mm f 4L IS II lens (RRP $6499), Amazon with a price of $5599.95 is bested by BuyMobile Australia (from Hong Kong – see separate story) with a price of $5458.99, with the sharpest price from a local retailer $6403 including delivery.
While these are only three examples, readers can dip into the Amazon site to reassure themselves that the pattern repeats more often than not; Amazon.AU, with local supply, is now discounting heavily. With grey marketers in the Amazon Marketplace, the average selling price from Amazon.AU is in danger of being dragged down to a point where local retailers can’t compete.
There is some relief in that Amazon.AU only seems to stock Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm cameras to date, leaving Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Ricoh/Pentax pricing free for the time being of the pressure from a competitor who can afford to lose money on sales in the short to mid-term to secure the market.