By Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc later this year plans to launch a marketplace for local services, a broad term that encompasses anything from babysitters to handymen to birthday clowns, beginning with a single market, several people familiar with the matter said. Amazon aims to gauge demand and test logistics before rolling out nationwide, mirroring its approach to its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh. Fresh was tested in Seattle for years before expanding to San Francisco and Los Angeles last year. The move takes direct aim at consumer review sites Yelp Inc and Angie's List Inc as well as U.S. home improvement chains Home Depot Inc and Lowe's Companies Inc, which have both invested in ways to link customers with local plumbers, painters and other service providers. Amazon declined to comment. Services marks a new frontier for Amazon, which has focused on selling products as it expanded from books into consumer goods, groceries and media. Local services are massive and growing, but it has been tough for marketplace companies to turn a profit, since offerings must be tailored to each city or region. In recent months, Amazon has reached out directly to service companies as well as to several startups in Seattle and San Francisco that already connect service providers, from home repair to massages, to customers through their own web sites and mobile applications, according to the people. Amazon has also been experimenting with ways to tie services to the products it sells. In one example, Amazon recently ran a test on its website offering installation services to users who bought Nest thermostats. The moves reflects Amazon's long-running efforts to have services tied to every product sold by Amazon on its website, according to one person close to the company, who like others declined to be named discussing confidential plans. BACKED BY AMAZON A local services marketplace would extend Amazon's role as a middleman for third-party vendors, which account for about 40 percent of Amazon's sales. The quality of the local services would be backed by Amazon's "A-to-z Guarantee" which the company uses to vouch for items sold by third-party sellers on its website, the sources said. One of the companies Amazon contacted in January was San Francisco-based Thumbtack, a startup that serves as a matchmaker between consumers and 63,000 service providers including photographers, tutors and others. In its conversations with Thumbtack, Amazon asked several questions about the company's growth strategy and the market for local services, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Thumbtack, which has raised $49 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management, said the average project on its site is $600. It drives an estimated $1.8 billion worth of business annually to professionals on the site. Other industry observers estimate that the home repair and improvement market alone represents an at least $250 billion opportunity. Angie’s List in 2011 estimated that the market for local services was around $400 billion, including remodeling services and pest control. But since going public that year, the company has had just two profitable quarters. Amazon itself has had limited success with Amazon Local, a daily deals service. Amazon Local has no involvement in the services marketplace currently in development. But the business opportunity may be improving, in part by the proliferation of smart phones, which let service providers schedule appointments on the fly. Offering local services on Amazon’s website has been a goal of Chief Executive Jeff Bezos for years. He personally invested in Pro.com, a Seattle-based startup, founded by former Amazon executive Matt Williams, which helps customers find contractors and estimate the costs of home repair and improvement projects. (Editing by Peter Henderson)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
- The Telegraph
When the Duke of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that his family had “literally” cut him off financially, sources close to the Prince of Wales could not hide their surprise. The bank statements, they said, told a different story. It has now emerged that the Prince of Wales gave the Duke and Duchess a “substantial sum” when they stepped back from their official roles, apparently contradicting Prince Harry’s claim that they had only been able to afford their new life in California because of his inherit
- NBC Sports Boston
What can Celtics fans expect from new head coach Ime Udoka? This 2015 quote from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich should generate plenty of excitement.
- Yahoo Sports
Gordon has worked for Fox ever since he retired from the Cup Series. Now he'll be the No. 2 man at Hendrick behind Rick Hendrick.
- Yahoo Canada Style
'It's a whole different face': Kylie Jenner fans react after viral TikTok compares old photos of the star
"She's literally not the same person."
A month out from the Tokyo Olympics, the US men's basketball roster is taking shape, and it once again looks like a juggernaut.
- The Daily Beast
Screenshot/YouTubeA massive country music festival in Kentucky this past weekend started off on rocky footing: Police found meth, marijuana, and an open bottle of alcohol in the first vehicle they stopped at a traffic checkpoint. One of the people in the car had two active warrants out for their arrest.“We were like, ‘Well, this doesn’t bode well for the weekend,’” Edmonson County Sheriff Shane Doyle told the Lexington Herald-Leader.Police said that by the end of the five-day bash, dubbed the “R
Prince William and Kate Middleton reportedly refused to speak to Prince Harry after Prince Philip's funeral in case the conversation was leaked
The couple thought Meghan Markle might leak their conversation to Oprah Winfrey, the royal historian Robert Lacey said in an updated book.
The Suns took advantage of a little-known rule their star center wasn't even aware of to execute the game-winning 'Valley Oop'
Deandre Ayton's game-winning dunk would be an offensive goaltend on any other play, but not off an inbounds play.
The former president claims he could be back in power soon.
- Kansas City Star
Chances are, you’ve never seen something like this at soccer game.
- Business Insider
Trump's obsessive rants about the 2020 election have driven away his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, report says
Ivanka and Kushner have conspicuously stepped back from Trump's inner circle partly over Trump's obsession on the past, CNN reports.
- NBC Sports BayArea
There are a lot of players the Warriors could select with their No. 7 and No. 14 picks on draft night. But who are some guys Golden State should stay away from?
On July 1 — what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday — a new statue of the late princess will be revealed at Kensington Palace, with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry there to honor the moment together despite their ongoing rift, widened by Harry’s confessions about the royal family on his TV […]
- Golf Channel
Brooks Koepka said the origins of the Brooks-Bryson beef started when DeChambeau didn't stay true to his word.
- NBC News
More Black people died in traffic deaths in 2020 than any other racial group even though Americans drove less in the pandemic. Experts say this is not new.
This video will live rent-free in my mind henceforth.
- Women's Health
Is there anything she can't do?
- The Telegraph
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex rejected the title Earl of Dumbarton for their son Archie because it contained the word "dumb", it has emerged. Multiple sources have told The Telegraph that both Harry and Meghan declined to use the title of Scottish nobility because they feared Archie might be bullied or attract unfortunate nicknames. The word dumb is more prevalent in the US, where is it frequently used as slang for stupid. A source said: “They didn’t like the idea of Archie being called the Ear
- Miami Herald
Immigration authorities in the United States have rescinded one of the policies implemented by the Trump administration that had one of the most profound negative impacts on legal immigrants with pending or upcoming applications.
- Warriors Wire
At the 2021 NBA draft lottery, the Golden State Warriors officially landed the No. 7 and No. 14 overall picks on the draft board.