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A week after S’pore launch, shoppers say Amazon is hardly the ‘Everything Store’

SINGAPORE — The delivery issues that plagued Amazon during its debut week in the Republic appears to have been resolved.

A week after S’pore launch, shoppers say Amazon is hardly the ‘Everything Store’

Some consumers in Singapore have pointed out the limited offerings on the Amazon Prime Now app, which launched in the Republic last week. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

SINGAPORE — The delivery issues that plagued Amazon during its debut week in the Republic appears to have been resolved.

But consumers here point to the limited offerings on the Amazon Prime Now app as the chief reason they are still less than satisfied with the services of the online retail giant that some call “The Everything Store”.

“There aren’t actually a lot of things (to buy on the app), even the usual dry dog food the common and big brands that are already on Amazon.com you can’t find them there as well,” said Ms Sarah Chong, 29, the founder of Vanillapup, a website for dog lovers.

Another online shopper, Ms Hoe Wan Sin, said Amazon ought to play to its strengths as a global player and bring in a wider range of products. The Seattle-based company’s current offerings in Singapore are no better than those by established grocers, she noted.

“The current Prime Now feels like another online NTUC or Cold Storage selling mainly groceries. I don’t really need that, I can always get that at a supermarket near my house,” added Ms Hoe, a doctor in her 40s.

Experts say it is no surprise that consumers are demanding a wider range of goods, but suggest that Amazon could be in the middle of collecting data to better size up demand before expanding its merchandise.

Ms Megan Ong, director of Nanyang Polytechnic’s Singapore Institute of Retail Studies, said that consumers are becoming more savvy, and expectations have risen. “(Consumers) are looking at a total, very comprehensive offer of products,” she said.

Mr Samuel Tan, a retail management expert with the Temasek Polytechnic School of Business, added that Amazon needs to do more to meet consumer expectations.

“With its market experience and resources, Amazon has the capability to go beyond being a competitor to local supermarkets and could be introducing more items progressively,” Mr Tan told TODAY.

In response to queries from TODAY, an Amazon spokesperson said the company is “always evaluating” its product selection and will “continue to add items customers love”. She did not specify what products the company would introduce in the coming weeks.

But to succeed in Singapore, Amazon would also have to provide the right mix of products for consumers here, said Associate Professor Seshan Ramaswami of the Singapore Management University.

“The width (number of categories) or depth (number of different brands and variants and sizes within a category) of the assortment (does not) matter as much as whether it is the right assortment for Singaporean households,” he added.

Despite its bumpy rollout, Amazon is not without satisfied customers in Singapore. Ms Sandra Yip said the current offerings have at least been helpful in meeting “urgent needs” at home, and pointed to Amazon’s two-hour delivery window as a highlight of its service.

She recounted how she ran out of detergent at home in the past week and managed to get a resupply “within hours”.

“The convenience ... is something I really appreciate about the app,” said the 33-year-old accountant.

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