A LEEDERVILLE business owner has urged shoppers to buy local after the launch of online shopping site Amazon Australia this week.
The US retailer is known for sacrificing profit for sales with aggressively low prices and its local presence is expected to bring more pain for Australian retailers.
Henry Hiccups co-owner Trent Durward said another online retail giant could spell the end for boutique businesses and change the fabric of inner city shopping strips.
“I am definitely not unfazed,” he said.
“People need to realise that if they do not shop local, then the feel and look of our little villages like Leederville, Mt Lawley and Mt Hawthorn will change; retailers will go out of business.”
Mr Durward said he had already seen a change in shoppers’ behaviour.
“I get frustrated when our shop is treated like a showroom, where people come in and have look, then go home and buy an item online,” he said.
“Just recently a customer was haggling over $10 because they saw an item cheaper online.
“I am very conscious that we need to put strategies in place to deal with it.”
He said in-store shopping offered things that online shopping did not.
“You get personalised service,” he said.
“We can offer advice on gifts for children, offer free wrapping and then you go out into Leederville and get a beer or a coffee with friends; you can’t do that online.”
Elroy owner Nick Sheppard said his clothing store had endured the online shopping revolution in its 23 years of operation and he was not fazed.
“I am not fussed; it might have some impact to a degree, but the launch of the Australian website is too little too late,” he said.
“I think the website may have more impact on those that sell white goods.”
He said there were still shoppers that preferred to “try before they buy”, which was a benefit to his shop.
WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Economist Rick Newnham used the launch to call for increased trading hours.
“Traditional West Australian retailers will soon be disrupted at an unprecedented rate as the shift to online shopping ramps up,” Mr Newnham said.
“Online stores don’t have governments telling them to hit the off switch at 5pm, and neither should WA businesses.”