By Alan Wolf, YSN
Amazon.com may be muscling into the appliance installation and furniture assembly business.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the e-commerce colossus is planning to test a premium service in Virginia and two other markets that moves well beyond the basic delivery and drop off the company currently provides.
A presentation reviewed by the news site indicates that the new large-item service includes unpacking, assembly and/or installation, and removal of the packaging material by delivery drivers. Drivers would also be required to return the item to the truck if the customer is displeased with the product.
Amazon will presently deliver an oversized item to a specific room of the house, where the driver will leave it unboxed and unassembled, often causing customer frustration. The e-tailer also offers more advanced in-home services for an added fee through an “Angie’s List”-type contractor program that’s available in a limited number of cities.
A person familiar with the plan said the new service is intended to make deliveries cheaper, more convenient and easier for Amazon to manage, Bloomberg reported. The e-tailer would neither confirm nor deny the initiative.
The pilot program may also be aimed at Wayfair, which offers similar services and surpassed Amazon as the country’s largest online home goods retailer in 2019, Bloomberg said. Both are contending for a furniture and housewares market whose online sales grew 41 percent last year to more than $36 billion, according to data cited by the news site.
The new service could also pose a challenge to box stores like Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot, as well as independent appliance and furniture dealers that provide their own delivery, installation and furniture assembly.
But Amazon may be facing a few challenges of its own. Drivers are already pushing back on its last-mile plans in online chat rooms, where they’ve expressed concern over insufficient training, impossible job completion times and contracting COVID, Bloomberg said.