Best Buy is getting whacked as Amazon goes after its key advantage (AMZN, BBY)
Best Buy has mostly escaped the pressure of the Amazon effect, but was hit Monday by a Recode report that Amazon has been hiring a team of people to offer in-home product installations, competing with Best Buy's "Geek Squad". The services are highly rated according to Amazon's information page.
Amazon's service is now available in seven markets: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Calif. and San Jose. However, Recode spotted job postings for a number of other cities around the USA, indicating further expansion plans to the East Coast and beyond. Amazon has not responded to a request for comment on how many workers it will employ. The Amazon technician will also test your home's Wifi network, and demo products according to your stated needs.
Still, if Amazon decides to expand its service, Best Buy should be wary, not only because the e-commerce behemoth essentially crushes every competitor it faces, spanning retail to tech, but because the Geek Squad, judging by how many customer complaints it's racked up in the last few months alone, has some serious glitches to work out.
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Amazon recently introduced its new "Smart Home Consultation" service, which is extremely similar to Best Buy's Geek Squad technology consultation and support business.
The offering, which is already available in a bunch of West Coast markets, has been quietly rolled out to this point.
Best Buy Co Inc shares fell over 3% in premarket trading Monday on the news. Several startups are playing in this field as well, including Enjoy, the company from former Apple retail head and JCP CEO Ron Johnson; HelloTech; as well as those focused on specific verticals, like Techy's laptop fix service, or the smartphone repairs offered by iCracked, for example. According to an Amazon job listing, the new field technicians will be responsible for setting up and troubleshooting technology products in customers' homes, as well as providing expert product advice. The move could cut down on returns, too - smart home devices can be intimidating if you're a novice, and this might convince some newcomers to stick with their products. Numerous devices require some technical or home fix knowledge - like how to wire up a doorbell or thermostat, for example - things not all consumers feel comfortable tackling on their own. The Alexa angle could help sell more Echo speakers, of course, and the shopping lists will likely lead to some extra sales.
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