Amazon announced the launch of a new service called Amazon Home Services, which lets customers browse, buy, and schedule appointments with professional services via a marketplace of services in categories like home improvement, computer & electronics, lawn & garden, lessons, automotive, and others.
According to the company, all the professionals in the marketplace have been handpicked, and offer upfront pricing on pre-packaged services along with reviews from customers that have made "verified purchases". You may recall last summer that people were talking about Amazon competing with Yelp. Well, this is it.
"All Amazon Home Services reviews are from verified purchases, so customers know they are hearing from real customers," Amazon says. "No special sign up or subscription is required to read reviews and ratings."
Service professionals are only added to the marketplace on an invitation-only basis. They go through background checks, are required to maintain insurance, and are expected to uphold "a high performance standard." Services are backed by Amazon's "Happiness Guarantee".
"Amazon doesn’t just refer customers to providers, but stays with them every step of the way," the company says. "All services purchased are guaranteed. If customers are not satisfied at the end of the service, Amazon will work with customers and the pro to ensure the job gets done right or provide a refund."
"Service pros compete for a customer’s business based on price, quality and availability," it adds. "If customers find a lower price for the same service and pro, we will match it. Customers can add pre-packaged services right to their cart with just a few clicks on Amazon and are only charged when the service is completed."
Once you find the right service, just add it to your cart, and set up a time. You only pay when the job is complete. You can also create custom requests and get estimates back within one business day.
Amazon says the service makes purchasing services as easy as buying products on Amazon. It released this infographic to illustrate the services's benefits:
For now, Amazon Home Services is available to people in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, but will be expanding in time. Users can access the marketplace by finding the Amazon Home Services link in the "Shop by Department" section on the Amazon homepage. Searching "home services" or "local services" will also get you there.
Amazon is currently giving away a $20 gift card to people buying services valued at $99 or higher. That ends on April 13.
Businesses that want to get involved will need to go through Amazon Selling Services. There's no charge to sign up or to list services, and businesses only pay Amazon when they get paid. There aren't any lead fees.
Businesses can set prices for standard services up front and accept requests for custom services, which will be delivered to their inboxes. Amazon handles the payment processing and customer payment issues.
Beyond the marketplace itself, Amazon is giving businesses visibility by showing them to customers who shop for related products.
You can apply for an invitation here.
Images via Amazon