Money Local retailers don't trust Amazon, says eBay's new local boss

15:25  13 september  2017
15:25  13 september  2017 Source:   WAtoday

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Australian retailers considering selling goods through Amazon do not trust the American ecommerce giant, and fear it might use their own sales data to undermine them, according to eBay ' s new local boss .

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© Wolter Peeters "We have legitimately played a key role in incubating a number of entrepreneurs in this market": eBay's new local managing director Tim Mackinnon.

Australian retailers considering selling goods through Amazon do not trust the American ecommerce giant, and fear it might use their own sales data to undermine them, according to eBay's new local boss.

"What I hear from Australian retailers, and I talk to a lot of Australian sellers, is they worry about the effect that Amazon might have on their business," Tim Mackinnon, who last week was appointed managing director of eBay Australia & New Zealand.

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Morgan Stanley analysts predict that Amazon will "take a significant portion of eBay ' s business in Australia", and that local retailers will have to reduce prices by about 10% in order to stay “While some of them are considering selling on Amazon , they don ’ t completely trust Amazon .

Amazon is set to open its local operations imminently, with Citi analysts predicting it will start trading out of its fulfilment centre in Melbourne's south-east before November 24, in what is expected to be one of the biggest shake-ups to the retail landscape in years.

The online retail powerhouse sells a range of products itself and also allows third-party retailers to trade through its marketplace platform.

"While somes of them are considering selling on Amazon, they don't completely trust Amazon," Mr Mackinnon.

"They worry about the way that Amazon might use their sales history and buy items themselves."

Presenting itself as an alternative champion of local businesses, Mr Mackinnon said eBay was a "pure marketplace" in which the seller with the best service and price prevailed.

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"We don't seek to own and control the Australian retail landscape – we seek to enable it," he said.

Amazon could start trading within months.© Dhiraj Singh Amazon could start trading within months. "Ninety per cent of the small businesses on the platform export around the world; offline it's only 5 per cent.

"We have legitimately played a key role in incubating a number of entrepreneurs in this market, growing tens of thousands of small businesses and we'll continue to do that."

While market watchers have been speculating how Amazon will affect incumbent local bricks and mortar, and online retailers, Amazon will also be a major competitor to eBay, which was a forerunner in digital retail in Australia when it opened here 18 years ago.

eBay initially was a marketplace mostly used by individuals to sell second-hand goods to one another, but today 90 per cent of goods sold on eBay Australia are brand new, Mr Mackinnon said, and the listings are dominated by large brands and retailers.

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Morgan Stanley analysts have previously said they expect Amazon to "take a significant portion of eBay's business in Australia", when it launches here while Citi has estimated local retailers will have to cut prices by about 10 per cent to stay competitive after Amazon's arrival.

But Mr Mackinnon said eBay and the retailers that use the site would remain price competitive, even if Amazon pushed prices down.

"We're confident that Australian retailers will continue to be competitive and that Austrians will continue to want to connect with Australian retailers," he said.

"Australians prefer to buy from a local retailer, they prefer to buy from small businesses."

Mr Mackinnon said 80 of Australia's top 100 retailers had a presence on eBay, and there were over 40,000 Australian businesses trading on the platform in total.

Visits to eBay's Australian website have doubled to 11 million a month over the past six years, and three out of every five Australians who shop online had done so with eBay in the past 12 months, he said.

eBay was looking into starting partnerships with Australian warehouse providers on behalf of eBay sellers. Similars partnerships, in which eBay negotiates better rates and facilitates integration with delivery options, had been successfully in other markets, he said.

eBay would not disclose the value of transactions through its Australian site, although in 2016 the figure was $US84 billion ($104 billion) globally, with company revenue of $9 billion.

The company has come under fire over its corporate structure and how much tax it pays in Australia, and Mr Mackinnon said he would work with the government and Australian Tax Office to ensure it complied with its tax obligations.

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