Ama­zon.com of­fers to help with house­work

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Ama­zon.com in the U.S. is in­tro­duc­ing a re­fer­ral ser­vice to help peo­ple to get projects and chores done around their homes.

The rec­om­men­da­tion sys­tem, called Ama­zon Home Ser­vices, marks the e-com­merce com­pany’s lat­est at­tempt to ex­pand its em­pire be­yond on­line shop­ping. It de­buted Mon­day across the U.S. af­ter sev­eral months of testing in New York, Los An­ge­les and Ama­zon.com’s home city of Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton.

Ama­zon.com’s move poses a po­ten­tial threat to other on­line re­fer­ral and busi­ness rat­ing ser­vices, in­clud­ing Angie’s List, Yelp and Thumb­tack, a startup that raised US$100 mil­lion last year from a group of back­ers led by an in­vest­ment arm of Google Inc.

About 700 dif­fer­ent ser­vices in ma­jor U.S. cities can be booked through Ama­zon.com, span­ning from house­clean­ing to goat graz­ing. Ama­zon.com isn’t charg­ing con­sumers a fee to use the ser­vice. In­stead, the com­pany will col­lect a com­mis­sion rang­ing from 10 per­cent to 20 per­cent from most of the pro­fes­sion­als.

All pro­fes­sion­als listed in the ser­vice are vet­ted by Ama­zon.com, which is also guar­an­tee­ing all the work.

Ama­zon.com be­lieves con­nect­ing con­sumers with handy­men and home-main­te­nance spe­cial­ists will prove to be a log­i­cal ex­ten­sion to its e-com­merce busi- ness be­cause about 85 mil­lion of its cus­tomers buy prod­ucts that re­quire in­stal­la­tion or pe­ri­odic ser­vic­ing.

In­vestors haven’t al­ways ap­proved of Ama­zon.com’s ef­forts to di­ver­sify out­side of on­line shop­ping, a push that has seen the com­pany branch out into mak­ing a va­ri­ety of gad­gets and run­ning an In­ter­net video ser­vice. The in­vest­ments in the other projects have shrunk Ama­zon.com’s prof­its and some­times lumped the com­pany with losses to the dis­may of its share­hold­ers.

Shares of Ama­zon.com rose US$3.21 to US$373.77 in af­ter­noon trad­ing. Its shares have risen more than 10 per­cent over the past year.

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