The service will be introduced in Virginia and two other markets. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, citing people familiar with Amazon’s plans.
Amazon already offers an Amazon Home Services to limited markets, enabling customers to find third-party contractors through the website to install items such as light fixtures and assemble furniture. According to online reviews, the service is a success.
The addition of the services could be seen as a competitive play against furniture retailers that offer similar services, such as Wayfair, Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot. The move also underscores Amazon’s continued desire to dominate every aspect of the online retail experience, from the point of purchase right into the customer’s home. Amazon has continually invested in all areas of production across its portfolio of retail options, including building out its own fleet of delivery vehicles and advancing with brick-and-mortar stores in grocery and convenience.
Wayfair overtook Amazon as the biggest online home goods retailer in 2019, and the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s growth with more consumers purchasing home goods products.
Amazon already offers customers the option for big deliveries, such as heavy furniture, to be scheduled for delivery to a certain room within their homes. However, customers are often dismayed once those packages arrive unassembled, Bloomberg reported. If customers opt into the new assembly service, drivers drop off and then immediately assemble the furniture and remove the packaging. If customers aren’t satisfied with the product, drivers can take it back on the spot.
When it comes to appliances, drivers may have to be trained how to assemble and install these items. That could pose an even bigger threat to home improvement retailers that already offer these services.
“The challenge is many retailers operate a traditional legacy carrier network with days or weeks of lead time, multiple carriers and all-day windows resulting in an inconsistent customer experience,” said Darren Waxman, chief revenue officer at PICKUP, a last-mile delivery service and on-demand logistics provider. “To meet demand and compete against Amazon, retailers will now need to implement forward inventory, same-day or scheduled delivery, and assembly services--all within a single window.”
Reportedly, some Amazon drivers are already unhappy at the prospect of adding assembly services to their job duties, according to online chat room discussions found by Bloomberg. Some drivers are concerned about insufficient training, while others say Amazon isn’t taking into account obstacles in customers’ homes, such as narrow hallways, that can impact delivery and service times. Catching Covid-19 is also still a major concern.
The service could be highly sought after by customers, as furniture sales for home offices and other home goods jumped since 2020 with more people spending time at home.