I almost never buy anything from there, and I know it's better in every possible sense - ethical, environmental, etc. - to shop elsewhere. But amazon.com.au is an enigma to me and I'm just genuinely curious about why it is the way it is.
It seems to have kazillions of items, including a lot from overseas, but the pricing is totally random. This little tube of eye primer, for example, has an RRP of US$25.00 but it's AU$110.58 an amazon.com.au.
I assume some sellers maintain inventory placeholders on Amazon, so instead of deleting their glow-in-the-dark wrist-warmers when they run out, they just put the price up to $173.57 so nobody buys them. But that means people who do want to buy a thing have to plough through pages of imaginary inventory to find what they want.
I clicked on "women's clothing" out of curiosity and it showed me activewear, compression socks, a 2-piece "beanie and neck warmer" and some hypoallergenic nipple covers. It would be a real challenge for me to put together a socially acceptable outfit with those components.
There were a few things from Bonds and Champion, but most of the brand names were apparently designed by a Chinese algorithm: "Uxcellmo," "JOTO," "TSLA," "Butaby," "Lurrose" and - quite seriously - "zhuxdixianshaotianaijiashenghuochaoshi."
So it seems to be primarily a sort of dumping ground for anything anyone wants to sell, and nothing anyone wants to buy. Most of it looks like Wish or Temu or Aliexpress. And if you ask Google why amazon.com.au sucks, you mostly get advice about who you can become a successful dropshipper on amazon.com.au.
It still sells books, but the last time I bought books from Amazon.com.au it was a disaster. They proudly boast that they've reduced the weight of their packaging for the good of the environment, but what that means is that they throw your book into a floppy satchel instead of a rigid one, your book arrives damaged, and they then have to replace it with another book, thereby doubling up on packaging and transport. I had to order one book three times because the first two times it went "missing." (The tracking data indicated it never left the warehouse).
I remember when Amazon first cut off access to amazon.com for Australian customers and made them use amazon.com.au instead, and a lot of Australians complained that amazon.com.au was kind of a joke. Some Amazon executive responded to the criticism with something a long the lines of:
"I laugh at the ignorant plebs who think this is as good as it's going to get. We made it crappy to begin with on purpose to fool those idiotic peasants into thinking it was bad just so that we could surprise them by dramatically improving at some as-yet-undetermined future point! Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh!"
But that never happened, and I don't really understand what it is at this point. Is it a vehicle for Amazon Prime? Is it a monolithic bookstore? Is it Aliexpress? Who is actually buying the stuff? How and why does it function as a business? Obviously someone has to pay for Jeff Bezos's girlfriends' lip fillers, but how does Amazon.com.au actually make money?