Big changes coming to Australia when Amazon arrives, says customer experience expert

Eustance Huang, Special to CNBC
Amazon set to enter Australian market

The Amazon juggernaut continues its mission for global domination.

Despite announcing that a planned expansion into the Australian market has been delayed until 2018, Amazon will bring about big changes in the country's retail landscape, according to Joel Norton, CEO of Australian customer experience agency Kalido.

Speaking with CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday, Norton said Amazon's U.S. operations offer a possible sign of things to come in Australia: "Forty-three percent of all online sales in the U.S. is through Amazon and they sell more clothing than all the other retailers combined in the U.S," Norton said, adding that the impact was likely to spread beyond the retail space.

"I expect they're going to have a similar impact when they come into Australia, not just in retail, but also in other categories as well," he said.

Australians are no stranger to Amazon as many already buy from the company's U.S. website. "Australians are spending something like $500 to $700 million on Amazon in the U.S., so we're already a big user of Amazon," Norton said.

"Quite often you go to a retail store and they don't have what you want, so I think that's where Amazon is really able to raise the game, not just for retailers, but also a lot of other categories as well," Norton added, emphasizing that much of the company's appeal lies in being able to meet the needs of consumers when offline retail has failed.

Despite that imminent threat at their doorstep, some Australian companies are "sort of sticking their head in the sand," and many are continuing to invest in brick and mortar, Norton said.

Additionally, many local firms still rely on outdated marketing research tools, he said: "We're still, in many businesses, still looking at sort of aggregated or summarized data."

This stands in stark contrast to Amazon's approach.

"I think what Amazon's done extremely well from day one is around understanding the customers," Norton said of the company's oft-cited strategy of using data analytics to guide decisions for expansion and customer experience optimization.

Yet despite the apparent opening for online retailers in Australia, Norton said many have failed to capitalize because of short-term thinking.

"I think one of the challenges is that a lot of online brands, their online sales is only sort of 5 to 7 percent of their total sales, so they look at that thinking, 'I'm not going to get a great return on investment by improving my online sales'," Norton said.