LOCAL business groups are confident service is key to retaining customers in the wake of Amazon Australia’s launch last week.
Main St Co-Op chair and Tuart Hill business owner Tania Pietracatella said Amazon offered a completely different shopping experience to that of local businesses.
“There will always be customers who want things without having to wait for it to be shipped,” she said. “If local businesses have friendly efficient staff who make their customer feel important, I’m sure they won’t have a problem keeping their shoppers.
“Making their experience personal is something online buying cannot compete with.”
Ms Pietracatella said the Co-Op would continue to fight to activate Main Street in Osborne Park and believed this would help encourage shoppers to the area.
“Amazon can’t offer what a community hub can, which is that feeling of belonging and being part of something more than just an online transaction,” she said.
Scarborough Beach Association chairman and business owner Wayne Bowen acknowledged Amazon was a major competitor in the retail space and said it received an unprecedented amount of press, which small businesses did not get.
“We do however maintain a strong positive outlook and confidence in our customer base to understand where the best service and choice can be obtained,” he said.
Mr Bowen believed quality service would enable businesses to compete against the online retailer.
“Service takes many forms, which include the goods being there and available immediately, no guess work in colour, sizing or suitability,” he said.
“When there is an issue with the product the local business is there for immediate referral.”
He said the association was not concerned as such but would help members deal with difficulties that could arise. “This is just another change which we must deal with,” he said.
“The real question people need to answer is – do they want jobs and the financial stimulus from retail sales going offshore to where it does very little for West Australian and Australian economies?”