There's no question that Amazon dominates the online shopping landscape. By getting small businesses and local contractors on board, could it also dominate local services? It's going to try.
Do you see Amazon becoming the go-to place for local services such as installations and repairs? Share your thoughts in the comments.
In June, we learned that Amazon was readying a local services marketplace, which would simultaneously compete with local review sites like Yelp and services from stores like Lowe's and Home Depot. The news was originally reported by Reuters, which suggested Amazon users would be able to order babysitters and handymen with the service.
Reuters now has a clearer picture of just what Amazon is working on, which it says it is testing in Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles. It also points to a Help & Customer service page on Amazon's website, which gives further details.
According to that page, Amazon Local Services allows users to purchase professional services for assembly, set-up, installation, and repair works. It doesn't say anything about babysitting, but that would certainly appear to cover the handyman part. Other verticals could surely come later, if the initiative proves successful.
This particular niche serves to let Amazon offer such services to customers who are already purchasing items that would require them. If you buy something on Amazon, it can suggest a local business to install it for you, for example. According to Reuters, the company has been working with such businesses for about two years.
According to Amazon, all service providers are covered by its "A-to-z Guarantee," are licensed and insured, and are background-checked. The company explains on that help page:
Add a service to your cart and check out. Within one business day, the service professional will contact you to set an appointment. If the service is at your home, the service provider will contact you 24 hours prior to the appointment to confirm and 30 minutes before arrival. All services provided in-home require someone 18 years or older to be present during the entire appointment.
There is no fee to cancel or reschedule an appointment but you will need to contact the service provider directly to do so. We encourage you to give the service provider at least 24 hours’ notice if you need to reschedule or cancel.
All services must take place within 90 days of checkout. Any service not received after 90 days will be automatically canceled.
After the work is complete, you will sign a Proof of Service document acknowledging the service has been completed and your payment will then be processed.
Installation and repair services are currently available in three cities: Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles. More locations and services launching soon.
As Reuters reports, Amazon will begin offering such services in more locations soon, and will take 20% of jobs under $1,000 and 15% of jobs over $1,000.
Amazon Local Services doesn't appear to be tied directly to Amazon Local, which focuses on deals, but it's easy to imagine that it could be as the service gets going.
This would be only one of several initiatives, which would see Amazon greatly expanding the way people receive goods and services. In April, the company unveiled Prime Pantry, a new grocery service that lets Prime members in available markets order from about 2,000 grocery products.That’s in addition to the Amazon Fresh same-day grocery delivery service the company operates.
Meanwhile, Amazon continues to build out its ecosystem to give consumers more windows into its universe, such as its recently launched music streaming and Kindle Unlimited offerings. The new Fire phone gives users an actual button that lets them point their phones at items, and quickly be able to buy them electronically. While the first incarnation of the device hasn't been received all that well, it's clear that the ecommerce giant is only starting to enter a whole new frontier of giving consumers new ways of buying and receiving products and services, while immersing them in a growing Amazon world.
Amazon recently launched a new Wallet App, giving users the ability to store credit and debit cards as well as gift cards and loyalty cards. It's also rumored to be readying a card reader for businesses to compete with Square.
The company continues to offer new products to both consumers and businesses (which is part of the reason for its disappointing earnings report and shareholder anxiety), all aimed at getting people to buy more in more ways all through Amazon, which in the long run means more money in Amazon's (and its shareholders') pockets. That is if things go right.
Can Amazon dominate offline commerce as well online? Let us know what you think.
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