According to a report by Reuters, Amazon will launch a marketplace for local services, connecting customers with babysitters, handymen, hair stylists and more. As with its AmazonFresh grocery-delivery service, the company will reportedly test-drive the new program before rolling it out nation-wide, but we can expect to see the service up and running later this year.
According to unnamed sources, Amazon's been reaching out to service providers in Seattle and San Francisco, including at least one home repair business. The e-tailer apparently has also contacted several startups that connect customers with service providers. According to the Reuters report, the quality of local services would be backed by Amazon's "A-to-z Guarantee" for verifying third-party vendors.
Several apps and sites, such as Angie's List, already connect users with local services, often with the help of customer reviews. If Amazon introduces a competing service, it will be another opportunity for the company to take on the lucrative role of middleman. Just yesterday, we learned that Amazon will compete with PayPal by processing customers' monthly subscription payments for a small fee. With a local services marketplace, the company would likely get a cut from each transaction as well. It's a formula that's worked very well; acting as the intermediary for third-party vendors accounts for about 40 percent of Amazon's sales.