Amazon to Launch in Israel During Election Week

Maybe it was Queens itself, but after abandoning plans to build a headquarters in Long Island City, Amazon is now said to be contemplating coming to the Big Apple after all. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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Amazon has asked Israeli sellers to be ready with products that will sell well before the Jewish New Year 

Edited by: JV Staff

According to the Globes website, the US based retail giant Amazon is in the throes of preparing a launch in Israel during the week that Israelis will go to the polls in a general election (on September 17th)  and prior to the Rosh HaShana holiday. Globes reported that Amazon asked the sellers to be fully prepared in the week after September 12. They said that once the official launch commences traffic on the local website will skyrocket. The folks at Amazon also emphasized that sellers should “give priority to products that can sell well at the New Year.” 

Amazon also asks sellers to make sure that their prices are competitive and that special offers are accessible, and to complete checks before going online, according to the Globes report.

Amazon has made tremendous progress in the direction of local online trading in Israel in the last year and half. Only four months have passed since the company invited suppliers to take part in the local sellers program, according to the Globes web site.

Amazon began to recruit Hebrew translators at the corporate offices in Luxembourg in May of 2018. These are important offices from which Amazon manages its European operations. Two months later, in July last year, Amazon came out with a free delivery offer for orders above $80, to test how Israelis would respond to purchases that would incur VAT (the limit for VAT exemption was $70), according to the Globes report. The offer was a huge success. After another month, Amazon published a survey in Hebrew for Israeli sellers on pricing methods and sales channels, and two months later senior Amazon executives came to Israel for meeting with local delivery companies.

The Jewish Voice previously reported that in May of this year, Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant already made its first endeavor in the region, entering the United Arab Emirates with a branded Arabic-language website. In May, Amazon also made its first approached towards the Israeli market, by sending out letters in Hebrew to potential sellers. Israel will be its second entry, which speaks well of the country, with such a small population (approximately 9 million). 

As evident, however, Israel has already proved it has a strong record of online shopping, and is expanding swiftly. Last year, Israel’s postal company reported that it shipped in 65 million packages from abroad. China’s Ali Express led Israel’s e-commerce market with 50% of orders, with eBay Inc. and Amazon following. Though malls are still an integral part of Israel, the Israeli e-commerce market is at roughly $4.8 billion in sales, with 70% of the sales stemming from outside of Israel.

One potential bump Amazon may face in its new Israeli platform is navigating the sensitive decisions about how to market goods that are made in the Israeli settlements and the West Bank. Some Palestinian supporters have already petitioned companies to ban Israel from profiting from sales in contested areas and are demanding that products made there be clearly labeled as made in the settlements rather than in Israel proper.

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