Amazon Australia launches new Garden store

By Gabrielle Stannus

Amazon Australia recently launched its online Garden store. What could this mean for the greenlife industry?

Amazon Australia has claimed that their new Garden store will add to over 125 million products already available on their online shopping platform.


Amazon Australia says that this new product range reflects key findings from research detailed in its Outdoor Living Report, including the following of interest to greenlife industry members:

  • Rise in plant parenthood - Three in four millennials (75%) are keen gardeners, indicating they grow their own organic fruit, vegetables or herbs. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Aussies are interested in growing organic fruit, vegetables or herbs, followed by growing natives (34%)
  • ' Grow your own' tops outdoor wish lists - Veggie gardens (22%) have been crowned the number one most wanted item in an outdoor space, followed by the signature outdoor barbie (21%), and various outdoor furniture (18%). For men, BBQs are number one (28%) and for women it is vegetable gardens (26 per cent) 1
Given Amazon Australia’s focus on the Home and Garden market, greenlife industry members could boost their business sales on this platform. However, it may be some time before the potential of selling some garden products on this platform is fully realised. Amazon.com offers a wide range of flowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, herbs, cacti and succulents, fruits, vegetables, bonsai, aquatic plants, and vines for sale. However, its smaller Australian ‘sibling’ is yet to offer living plants in any meaningful fashion to the market, most likely because Amazon Australia has yet to iron out what it calls ‘fulfillment’ details for potential sellers of plants.

Selling on Amazon Australia
Selling on Amazon Australia may help some greenlife businesses to potentially reach new customers looking for potting mixes, planters, fertilisers, green walls and more. Amazon Australia currently offers two selling plans. Its Professional selling plan is available for $49.95 per month (GST exc.) plus a fee on each product that is sold. Amazon Australia recommends its Individual plan for those sellers who plan to sell fewer than 50 items a month. Individuals pay $0.99 per item sold (GST exc.) plus other selling fees, which vary by category.

Delivery and other fees
These plans do not include what Amazon Australia refers to as ‘fulfillment’, i.e. getting your product to your customers (fulfilling their request). Shipping fees depend on whether you plan to fulfill orders yourself or use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) to handle your logistics and customer service. The fulfilment fee is a flat fee that you pay per unit, based on the product type, its dimensions and its weight. It includes picking and packing your orders, shipping and handling, customer service, and product returns. If you choose Amazon Australia’s FBA option rather than shipping yourself, you will also attract monthly inventory storage fees payable based on the daily average volume in cubic metre per month.

Industry opinion
Alistair Hill, Chairman of Immij Greenlife and a Director of Greenlife Industry Australia, believes that Amazon Australia’s move into the Home and Garden market could be a positive thing. “I think that there is potential to grow the market further by having another source of supply into it,” says Alistair, “There are opportunities for our industry’s wholesalers, producers and allied professionals to sell more product. Amazon Australia could be another good channel for growers if they create their own presence within it.”


Alistair is mindful that not all greenlife industry members may feel this way: “It is understandable that some retailers may not feel very comfortable with Amazon Australia’s move into the Home and Garden market,” says Alistair, “Amazon’s model is clear: If you want it quickly and at the right price, then just go on online and order it and have it delivered without any issues. For the younger generation, i.e. millennials, this is a pure online solution.”

Amazon Australia claims nearly 90% of Australians will have access to free delivery in an as little as two days on Prime eligible Garden items. Customers who do not take up the Prime subscription service will receive free delivery only on orders above $39 when shipped by Amazon Australia. A one-day delivery service is already available in select areas across Australia.

Many retailers already differentiate themselves by offering in store experiences such as cafes, workshops, landscaping services, gift stores and ancillary offerings and click and collect services. Most important is expert advice. Alistair suggested to retailers:

“Differentiation is the key. Beating Amazon Australia on price may be difficult to do. However, Amazon Australia cannot offer a click and collect service or host in-house events. We know customers are looking for social experiences and appreciate advice from qualified and experienced horticulturists. Continue to differentiate yourselves by offering in-store experiences so that your retail nursery becomes a destination point. Make this your point of difference and your business will continue to thrive.”

NB. Amazon Australia were contacted for comment but did not respond in time for publication.

References
1.Amazon Australia 2019, 'There's no place like gnome: Amazon Australia Launches a garden store for all things outdoors', Press Release, 10 September 2019, viewed 18 November 2019, https://amazonau.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/theres-no-place-gnome-amazon-australia-launches-garden-store-all