Amazon is once again trying to find new paths into your home. This time, instead of using an always-listening virtual assistant or a phone that helps you buy stuff, the e-commerce giant is relying on human beings—more specifically, handymen.
The online retailer has quietly launched Amazon Local Services, a listing service similar to Angie's List or Yelp that's tightly integrated with Amazon's own third-party marketplace. The goal is to help customers install and maintain newly purchased appliances like dishwashers and dryers, as well as other items like TV wall mounts and ceiling fans.
The service works in a straightforward manner. When you add an appliance to your shopping cart, the site shows you a list of local handymen that can install it, along with their pricing. All you have to do is select the service you want and schedule an appointment. If you run into trouble down the road, you can use the same system to schedule a repair.
If you're wary of taking Amazon's advice on who should handle your installation, the company runs background checks on installers and repairmen and makes sure they're covered by liability insurance. Amazon also covers approved services under its A-to-Z Guarantee.
These efforts are part of Amazon's ongoing campaign to dethrone brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy and Walmart. For now, Amazon Local Services is only available in three cities: Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. However, the company says more locations are coming soon.
Amazon is already signing up providers for other services, as well. Fitness instructors, anyone? How about TV mounting and calibration? (You can see a full list of categories here.)