Sellers asked to prepare for orders.

In what was meant to be a confidential email sent to Amazon Marketplace sellers on Tuesday, Amazon confirmed that it will start an internal testing phase with a small number of customers on Thursday at 2pm.

In the email, which was obtained and published by local news site, Lifehacker, sellers were asked to “be prepared to receive orders from this point forward” and ensure pricing and stock is up-to-date. Those who do not wish to participate have the option of setting their seller account temporarily to inactive.

It was predicted by a number of retail analysts that Amazon would launch ahead of Black Friday (24 November) and Cyber Monday shopping events, and last week, at its Seller Summit in Sydney Amazon Australia country manager, Rocco Braeuniger said the launch would be “really, really soon”.

Commenting on this announcement, Euromonitor senior research analyst, Hianyang Chan (pictured below) said, “Amazon’s entry might be the moment when shopping behaviour in Australia swings decisively towards e-commerce. Internet retailing might only currently account for a small percentage of total retail sales. However, the entry of Amazon will very possibly spark off a much needed increased in competition that will bring both opportunities and threat for existing retailers.

“The online retailing giant is expected to not only offer competitive pricing across a wide range of products but also enhance customer’s online shopping experience. This disruption will likely force current retailers to better leverage their relationship with their customers, strive to offer a more exclusive range and further innovate to improve their services and product offerings to better entice consumers. It will be vital for retailers to embrace the changing dynamics, step out of their comfort zone and chart their own way forward or risk being left behind.”

Head of SAP Hybris Australia and New Zealand, Stuart O’Neill (pictured below) said, “Amazon’s launch marks a major shake-up for Australian retailers. And the US giant has chosen to open its doors in time for Black Friday sales and the Christmas period, allowing consumers to test how convenient its service can be during the busiest retail periods of the year.

“But there is an upside. Not only does it represent a new, digital outlet for small retailers to reach their audiences, but will hopefully increase the focus on customer experience across the entire retail industry. A rising tide lifts all boats – and hopefully Australia’s retail sector will look at Amazon’s launch as a challenge to meet consumer expectations.

“Smart retailers know success in this market is achieved by focusing their efforts on their customers – not their competition. A recent SAP survey revealed clear demand from Australian consumers for high-quality, seamless and personalised experiences across online and physical stores.

“Amazon’s launch certainly means the competition is rising, but digital disruption is already a reality in the retail sector. Retailers must focus on getting digital experiences right for their customers – not on who is opening their doors across the street.”