Dubbo retailers are facing new and fierce competition after global e-commerce giant Amazon launched in Australia on Tuesday.
The peak body for the city’s businesses foresees “some challenges for local shop owners” to withstand the new player’s advance.
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright anticipated initially there would be “a lot of curiosity” about Amazon, but contested local businesses still had a lot to offer customers.
He identified service and advice “upfront and ongoing” as being key to maintaining trade.
Already he had received reports from local retailers being asked to come to the rescue of online buyers.
“We’ve spoken to a few different businesses already that have given plenty of examples of how people go online and purchase something that doesn’t work, needs returning, has a fault,” he said.
“And they’ll bring it back to a local business to say ‘this is broken, can you guys replace it for me under a warranty’.
“That’s pretty bold for a consumer to do that anyway but that’s certainly one of the big things we say to business owners.
“Really push that whole thing that we’re not just here to service you when you purchase this, but we’re here to service you afterwards if there’s issues.”
Money being spent in the city is obviously money that turns around in the city.Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright
Mr Wright said he thought having a direct shopfront - where delivery time was not a factor - instead of an online presenceonly was a point of difference in the favour of local businesses.
“You can walk in, touch it, feel it, purchase it, walk out with it, rather than waiting that two to three days for it to turn up in the post,” he said.
Mr Wright also encouraged shoppers to think about the broader picture.
“Money being spent in the city is obviously money that turns around in the city,” he said.
“While you may pay a little more if you’re purchasing something in Dubbo, that money is paying local wages, which are spent again locally.”