The lack of competitiveness in many areas of Australian retail were thrown into stark relief for me today. Our eldest daughter is a math whizz, a trait I hasten to assure you inherited from her mother rather than me. She's in Grade 9, but currently chewing her way through the Grade 10 maths syllabus.
As part of her Grade 10 course, she arrived home yesterday with an order form for a fancy 'bath the baby' graphing caculator that is a requirement. Cost? $188, coming from a company in Melbourne.
But even the teacher had worded our daughter up to check eBay for a second-hand version.
Out of idle interest I checked Amazon. And there it was, for $US149. Add $US11 delivery on, convert to AUD and grand total of $A155 delivered. A $33 saving. AND I didn't have to fill out a form, and make sure our daughter took the form to school. My credit card is already saved on Amazon, sign in, one click, agree to everything, done in a minute without moving from my desk.
Amazon exemplifies the challenges facing Australian retailers. The caculator is a globally available Texas Instruments product – exactly the same in the USA as it is in Australia.
Amazon makes the purchase process simplicity itself; and at an extremely competitive price. My experience is that Australian retailers, on the whole, do neither.