“When are you going to launch Prime?”

That’s the number one request Amazon has gotten from customers since it launched in Australia five months ago.

And the answer — according to Russ Grandinetti Amazon SVP, International Consumer — is soon.

“I don’t have any news to report about Prime other than we are working hard on it and it will come soon. I can also say that it is not going to cost you a kidney,” Grandinetti said during an event in Sydney today.

The company has previously stated it plans to launch Prime in mid-2018. The subscription service is tipped to be a major driver behind the company’s future growth in Australia.

Grandinetti was speaking at the Amazon’s first Innovation Day in Sydney today. The event grew out of the company’s AWS Summit and is designed to give AWS customers guidance on how to innovate based on insights from visiting Amazon.com execs and high profile Australian companies running on AWS like Atlassian and Airtasker.

Grandinetti, a long serving Amazon employee who worked on the Australian launch, said it was “extremely gratifying” that Australia now holds the record for the largest order volume on a first day country launch in Amazon’s history.

On the marketpace side, Grandinetti said he had received “incredibly strong participation and feedback” from Amazon.com.au’s third party sellers.

“[We’ve had] lots of reports of folks being pleased with the early sales success they’ve had, they are expanding the selection they have on the site.”

Grandinetti also acknowledged the role Fulfilment By Amazon plays for marketplace sellers, providing the logistics infastructure to sell their products on Amazon’s other 12 marketplaces around the world.

“Among the most enduring contributions we will make in Australia as we build our business will be — of course the commerce business we build here locally — but helping Australian businesses build their business around the world.”

In March there were 10,000 sellers on Amazon’s Australian marketplace, according to analysis by Marketplace Pulse. That number is predicted to reach 50,000 by the end of the year.

Alexa, build me a skill

During the day, the company also highlighted its robotics capabilities that underpin its enormous fulfilment centres and the role of Alexa and voice computing.

Globally, there are 30,000 Alexa skills — that’s what Amazon calls the apps built for Alexa. The smart devices were launched in Australia and New Zealand in February and there are 15,000 Alexa skills available locally, which is a mix of the best global apps and skills built by Australian brands including, Westpac, ABC, Domino’s and Hoyts.

Alexa Skilla, Kate Burleigh

Kate Burleigh, Country Manager, Amazon Alexa Skills, (pictured above) highlighted the Australian brands that have built Alexa skills and encouraged the audience to build their own skills to give their brand “a voice.”

“It’s April and we are off to a cracking start here in Australia. I am thrilled and excited to think how we are going to bring Alexa to life in Australia through working with lots of brands, developers and interested parties,” Burleigh said.

“Alexa is not just about Amazon. It’s about you too and we are really excited to see how you’re going to give your vision a voice in the future.”

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