Amazon Israel e-commerce launch said delayed amid language, service issues
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Amazon Israel e-commerce launch said delayed amid language, service issues

Haaretz says US online retail giant struggles to find local resellers that meet its stringent requirements; no new date set for start of service

Amazon Prime boxes are loaded on a cart for delivery, October 10, 2018 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Amazon Prime boxes are loaded on a cart for delivery, October 10, 2018 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The launch of Amazon’s e-commerce services in Israel has been delayed as the US online retail giant struggles to recruit local resellers, Haaretz reported Wednesday, citing retail industry sources.

Amazon was scheduled to start its local e-commerce operations in June or July, with services and products targeting specifically the Israeli audience. A new date has not been set, Haaretz said, though on Tuesday the Calcalist financial website said the firm is gearing up to launch its services in September, citing Israeli retailers who said they had received notice from Amazon.

A retail industry source told Haaretz that Amazon still has a number of matters that need to be resolved ahead of its Israeli debut. These include regulatory and language issues and recruiting resellers and local stores that will sell their products to the Israeli public by a dedicated Amazon-Israel website.

These resellers are finding it hard to meet the stringent requirements demanded by the US firm, the report said. The requirements include delivering products ordered by customers within five days and other logistical, customer service and inventory management challenges, which are deterring many firms from offering their services, Haaretz said.

Industry sources told Haaretz that Amazon has recruited just a few dozens of resellers to date, which is not enough to justify the setting up of a Hebrew-language website, devoted exclusively to the local market. The site would need to have at least several thousand locally generated products to be able to attract enough traffic, the sources said.

Another issue that is hindering the launch of operations is that Amazon has no plans of opening a logistics center anytime soon, the sources said. The Hebrew language also poses a challenge, as Amazon is demanding to see the product pages translated into English first, for approval, and then translated back into Hebrew.

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