It has been reported that Amazon are keen to take a stake in the housekeeping industry, which currently has an annual turnover of US$16 billion dollars.
This is not the first time Amazon has shown an interest in this area of business. Three years ago they launched a marketplace-style service aimed at connecting their customers with local services such as gardeners, handymen and housekeepers, but it failed to take off. Amazon is now trying again, this time with a new approach and a different business model.
The previous scheme required contractors to use their own vehicles and tools in return for Amazon connecting them to potential new business. This meant that Amazon could take a cut of the supplier’s profits, without having to invest in staff or equipment.
However, in a total contrast, the online retailer’s new model is based on recruiting and training their own staff as Amazon Home Assistants. This change in direction demonstrates a lack of confidence in the independent contractor market and a desire to have total control and ownership of the new business.
The new service, which is initially being trialled in Seattle, USA, offers weekly cleaning for approximately $150 based on a 1,500 square foot home. The Home Assistants are employed and trained by Amazon and will only use cleaning products that have been rated 4 stars or above on the Amazon website by customers.
Amazon have also committed to only using 100% eco-friendly and child-safe brands and the service is being offered alongside their ‘happiness guarantee’, which means that any customer who isn’t satisfied can request that the cleaners return and put things right.
Amazon is renowned for seeking new business expansion opportunities. By tapping into this profitable market, they hope to offer a new type of service and stand out against their competitors.
Traditionally, Amazon is known for its wide product range and delivery service, but it is thought that one possible reason why they are investing in hiring and training their own Home Assistants is that they are struggling to sell products that go hand-in-hand with the service industry. By offering the service and products as a package, Amazon can maximise profit and offer their customers a complete Amazon-branded experience.
If the trial is successful, Amazon could expand into other service industries such as home decorating, assembly of goods and electrical installations.
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