After the introduction of multiple categories in its Indian online marketplace, Online retailer Amazon is planning to launch a local services platform this year, as per an Economic Times report. The platform will provide anything from babysitters to handymen, several people familiar with the matter said.
Also, the firm had launched a beauty store with around 5,000 products, introduced Amazon Payments market, ‘Denim Hangout’ platform to forey into men’s apparel and added a new category of collectible coins to its online marketplace.
At present, the company is planning to launch 3D smartphone in September 2014. Other recent moves of Amazon in hardware space include a Fire Tv which can stream video content over the Internet. Also, it had launched the upgraded versions of its Kindle tablets last year.
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Reuters says: Amazon aims to gauge demand and test logistics before rolling out nationwide, mirroring its approach to its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh. Fresh was tested in Seattle for years before expanding to San Francisco and Los Angeles last year.
The move takes direct aim at consumer review sites Yelp Inc and Angie’s List Inc as well as U.S. home improvement chains Home Depot Inc and Lowe’s Companies Inc, which have both invested in ways to link customers with local plumbers, painters and other service providers.
GeekWire says: Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos is also an investor in Pro.com, which is on a mission to help home owners find, book and schedule home improvement professionals. It was founded by former Digg CEO Matt Williams, and is base in Seattle near Amazon’s South Lake Union headquarters.
Amazon’s online business model has often drawn criticism from local merchants, who claim that the e-commerce giant is training shoppers to find cheap deals online instead of supporting nearby retailers. If that’s the case, Amazon’s push into local will not be a slam dunk. However, if Amazon’s local marketplace is able to drive customers to local businesses, perhaps this is the olive branch that local retailers have been looking for?
More from Economic Times: Amazon declined to comment.
In recent months, Amazon has reached out directly to service providers as well as to several startups in Seattle and San Francisco that already connect service providers to customers through their own web sites and mobile applications, the sources said.
At least one of the startups contacted by Amazon focuses on home repair. Others offer a broader range of services that include massages and haircuts.
The company has been experimenting with with ways to tie services to the products it sells. In one example, Amazon recently ran a test on its website offering installation services to users who bought Nest thermostats.
A local services marketplace would extend Amazon’s profitable role as a middleman for third-party vendors, which account for about 40 per cent of Amazon’s sales.
The quality of the local services would be backed by Amazon’s “A-to-z Guarantee” which the company uses to vouch for items sold by third-party sellers on its website.
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