Amazon already sells and deliver things. Now it wants to add installations to its roster of tricks. Starting this week, Amazon is rolling out Amazon Local Services, a sort of handyman platform, in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. The goal is to help customers connect with local service providers who advertise and contract out through Amazon's marketplace. According to the Wall Street Journal, it's another way for Amazon to edge onto the turf of brick-and-mortar retailers.
In an effort to differentiate itself from other home-service providers, Amazon plans to offer a money-back guarantee to customers. That makes sense for a company that built itself on the promise of exceptional customer service but that some feared had strayed from that mission lately. Installations and repairs also seem like an obvious target for Amazon to take on—there's plenty of room to improve those hours-long installation windows and no-show deliveries that frustrate customers routinely. The Journal also notes that Amazon will show customer reviews of the service providers on its website.
According to Amazon's site, businesses and service providers will have to undergo background checks and pay monthly subscription fees to list on "Selling Services" beginning in July 2015. Amazon will take a 20 percent cut of services up to $1,000 and 15 percent of services over $1,000. The fees will be "segmented by service profession," but so far the ones listed apply to handymen, plumbers, electricians, computer technicians, auto mechanics, car electronics specialists, home media specialists, and appliance technicians.
The local services rollout comes about a month and a half after Amazon took another big step to compete with traditional retailers: deciding to open a physical store. The space is planned for 7 West 34th St. in Manhattan and, according to reports at the time, was set to open for the holidays. While there hasn't been much word on the effort since then, Vornado Realty Trust did say last week that Amazon had signed a lease for the 470,000-square-foot spot. It's good for 17 years.