Amazon looks to one-better Angie’s List
In its apparent effort to have a hand in absolutely everything, Amazon’s latest rollout positions the e-commerce giant as a middleman between you and your handy man, a la Angie’s List. A beta version of Selling Services, Amazon’s after-sales services marketplace, is currently live in about 15 cities nationwide.
A video on Amazon’s Selling Services website explains that those contractors interested in offering their services apply to have their names listed. After being verified, the service provider appears in a standalone marketplace for their region as well as alongside applicable products, so if a customer buys a washing machine, she will be offered a list of washing machine installation professionals in the area. The video shows the disparate range of services, highlighting plumbers, auto mechanics and yoga instructors as potential sellers.
According to the video, the contractor sets the price for the service and only pays out to Amazon on completed orders. The video states, "Service providers are hand-picked, and only highly-qualified ones are invited to participate." Amazon’s Selling Services FAQ explains that providers must pass business background checks and in-home technicians must pass individual background checks.
Techspot reports, "Amazon is currently waiving background check fees for contractors through January 31, 2015, and monthly subscription fees through June 30, 2015. After those dates, Amazon will collect 20 percent of the service fee on jobs of up to $1,000, and 15 percent on jobs costing more than $1,000. Background checks will run $50 per business and $40 per participating employee."
A TechCrunch article points out a few possible concerns with the emerging model (outside of the logistics of managing licensure and background checks and any potential liability therein). For instance, the possibility that being given a huge list of options rather than one vetted vendor at the point of purchase will lead to buyer fatigue. Citing other similar marketplaces, TechCrunch mentions the tendency of third-party sellers to attempt to compete on price to attract business, and the tendency of customers to pick the lowest-priced option, or an option that carries a dubious high rating.
Amazon’s Selling Services FAQ does not explain the criteria along which service providers will be ranked, or what will determine how prominently they are displayed on the site.
The established high profit margins of the after-sales service market could bring a lot of cash to Amazon. By the same token, where computer repairs are concerned (not to mention in-home plumbing and wiring), an A-to-Z guarantee might not cover grievances as easily as it does with third-party returns in the Marketplace.
- Selling Services on Amazon.com – Amazon.com
- Introducing Selling Services on Amazon.com Video – YouTube.com
- Selling Services on Amazon FAQ – Amazon.com
- The Algorithm Economy Heads to Amazon – TechCrunch
- Amazon Selling Services pairs shoppers with local installation professionals – Techspot
Will consumers trust Amazon when seeking help for their home improvement projects? Will Amazon’s Selling Services be a boon to local contractors seeking clients or will it cause a race to the bottom based on price?