Amazon Prime Launches Today in Australia

To most Aussies, Amazon Prime Video is another streaming service that’s recently ramped up its original content budget, and hired the best car reviewers ever (after one of them got fired from his last gig). To the rest of the world, Amazon Prime is one of the most comprehensive retail and entertainment membership programs going, with a raft of benefits bestowed to subscribers, many of which have changed the very nature of e-commerce itself, in their respective regions.

Amazon officially launched in Australia earlier this year, with not so much a splash as perhaps they’d hoped. Australia is a very different market to the States, and while they have successfully set up shop in many regions, the tried-and-tested model that found the online retailer initial success on home turf hasn’t caught on with quite as much vim and vigour down under.

This is in part due to the website blocking international purchases to Australia, citing our country’s tax laws (though this has been hotly debated). One of the biggest pulls for online shoppers using the service overseas, however, is the free same-day, or next-day shipping service for purchases over US$35, a perk available to Prime members at a fee of US$119 a year.

Australians can expect to fork out AU$59 a year for Amazon Prime (or an introductory offer of $4.99 per month)–a big discount from the US price, but there’s a catch: they can’t offer the same-day, or even the next-day, shipping service.

The nature of Australia’s population being spread out across so much land makes expedient shipping nigh on impossible. This is undeniably one of the reasons Australians are less likely to make online purchases for everyday items (as Americans do regularly, and for cheaper prices, too). Amazon Prime in Australia is offering two-day delivery for members, with no minimum purchase (basically heavily discounted express post, depending on how much you spend), but whether or not this will be enough to swing Australians over to a heavier reliance on online shopping, time will tell.

Shipping times aside, there is a lot of other good news that goes with the launch. For one, the two-day rule applies to 90 percent of the population, as they’ve ensured availability beyond the major cities, including regions such as Albury-Wodonga, Bendigo, Gold Coast, Gosford, Newcastle, Shepparton–Mooroopna, Toowoomba, and Wagga Wagga, among others.

There are also plenty of other member benefits, including access to Prime Video, which is currently pumping huge amounts of money into original content. There’s also Prime Reading, which offers access to a multitude of titles (if you have a Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet), and Twitch, Amazon’s gaming platform. Amazon Prime members in Australia will also get access to exclusive deals, free release-date delivery for new titles, and Alexa Shopping, with a compatible Alexa-enabled device.

The best thing about Prime launching in Australia, however, is the fact that it’s free for the first 30 days–so whether or not it’s for you can be easily found out. The service may have found some teething issues in the form of inconvenient shipping, but this the launch of Prime has the potential to change peoples’ tune on Amazon.

Amazon Prime AU

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