MELBOURNE: Amazon’s expected full-scale launch in Australia today is stressing small business owners and focusing the minds of top executives at large retailers.

PayPal research, based on a survey of 200 small and medium-sized business owners, showed more than a quarter were concerned about losing sales to online rivals, reported.

“Twenty-eight per cent of businesses surveyed are stressed about online competition,” said PayPal Australia spokesman Brian McDonnell. “Amazon definitely factors into their thought processes there.”

Larger Australian retailers are also braced for the Amazon effect, although Gartner research analyst Thomas O’Connor doubted there would be the “retail apocalypse” some observers have predicted.

“There will be some players who fall over, there will be some players who do struggle, but there will be others who position themselves effectively,” he said.

One such is Woolworths, whose chairman  Gordon Cairns outlined to yesterday’s AGM how the supermarket chain is preparing for the challenge by opening up to four new “dark stores”, in addition to an existing one in Sydney, which are not open to customers but are used exclusively to pack and ship online orders.

“By the end of 2018 we'll have about five dedicated dark stores to be able to deliver to customers and improve our performance,” he said.

Alongside that development, Woolworths is introducing click-and-collect to all its supermarkets and one-hour home delivery in certain areas.

“We should give customers options as to how they interact with us – do they want to come into the stores, do they want delivery, do they want to pick up,” Cairns explained.

“If we do that and we do that effectively then we are in a position to compete much more effectively with Amazon.”

Sourced from, The Age; additional content by WARC staff