While Israelis await Amazon’s final decision on when or whether to begin operations in Israel, the company has embarked on a new program that will allow consumers in dozens of countries around the world to order directly from Amazon, and pay in their own currencies. Israel is included in the list.
The catalog of available products in the Amazon Global program will include 45 million items that can be shipped abroad, mostly apparel, toys, books and others. Food and electronics are generally not available, and shipping costs are standard. Products can be shipped from the nearest Amazon warehouse, which for Israelis would be those in Europe. Prices will include local taxes and duties.
A report in Globes said that Amazon executives in recent months have met with executives from Israeli manufacturers and importers in an effort to determine the best way for the company to enter the marketplace, and to understand current market conditions in preparation for its Israeli launch. The report said that Amazon executives met with Israeli food manufacturers as well, even though according to previous reports the company is not planning to sell food in Israel. Because of issues of distance and storage, the company plans, at least initially, to concentrate on selling clothing, books, electronics, and other items with indefinite shelf lives.
A recent report in Maariv said that the company was in negotiations with Teva for a large logistics facility currently owned by the Israeli drug firm. The logistics center, which has delivery and processing facilities, is on the list of Israeli assets Teva is planning to sell as part of its financial recovery program. According to Maariv, Amazon is planning to run its own delivery service, preferring that over relying on the Israel Postal Service for delivery of packages, and has already acquired warehouse space in Modi’in. The deal, if it comes to pass, would be worth between NIS 500 million and a billion, the report said.