Sort of, not really, maybe a little, but hopefully actually really soon
Don't be fooled by the flashy headlines, Amazon has not launched a proper Israel vertical. There's no amazon.co.il - and no official word on when or if there will ever be one.
So, what's the deal?
While Amazon, which does have offices in Israel, has not formerly launched in Israel yet, they have launched a new feature on Amazon.com, which allows Israeli customers to search for local Israeli sellers who have products stored locally in Israel.
Here’s how it works: users simply search the site for a product as they would normally and then filter the results by “ships locally.”
“The point of this is to try and make the shopping experience a little easier for our Israeli customers by removing a couple of the barriers to entry, by speeding up delivery, as the product doesn’t need to be shipped from the United States and ideally saving money on shipping costs,” a press representative for Amazon exclusively told Time Out Israel. “We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and felt that by speeding up delivery times and reducing delivery costs, we would reduce barriers for Israeli customers. “
This new “Ships Locally” feature is open to all Israeli sellers who have products stored in Israel. Sign-up for potential sellers is easy via Amazon’s normal seller portals meaning that the categories and products are determined by the sellers interested in being on the platform. Further, as the sellers store the products themselves they are also responsible for shipping them, themselves. In that same vein, they are also the ones setting the prices of all the goods that they sell and setting the delivery costs. It’s also up to them and their delivery partner to decide on the speed of delivery. So, you guessed it, there is no Amazon Prime, or anything even close to it available to Israeli customers yet.
There is however a major upside. Since everything is shipped locally the prices shoppers see on their screen when they’re browsing, are actually the prices they will be paying at checkout. There is no reason to be worried about added fees, charges, or taxes.
While you might think Israelis were hard at work in the Tel Aviv office launching this new feature, it was actually spearheaded out of the mega-brand’s Seattle office as the Israel offices are focused on AWS and Development Centers.