Best Buy’s Geek Squad has been making it easier for the tech-adverse to set up complicated technology in homes for years.
This kind of customer service is one of the clearest advantages traditional retailers have over e-commerce giants like Amazon.
But maybe not for long. Amazon has quietly launched “Smart Home Consultations” as well as smart home product installations, according to Recode.
The company is now offering for Amazon employees to come to your house at a specified appointment time, which you book on Amazon’s website, to teach you how to set up a smart home network or install a device for you.
For the consultation, an Amazon employee will come to your home to help you set up your smart home, ask you what your needs are, and recommend things to buy to make those goals a reality. The Amazon technician will also test your home’s Wifi network, and demo products according to your stated needs.
Other services include the installation of select Alexa-enabled smart home products from Phillips Hue light bulbs to Honeywell Lyric Thermostats. The installations require a fee and both services are currently only available in seven markets on the West Coast: Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and Orange County, California. Amazon will offer the installation services at checkout when buying eligible smart home products. The installation fees run about $US99.
Amazon will offer the installation services at checkout when buying eligible smart home products. The installation fees run are about $US99.
Smart home products have a particularly high return rate due to their complexity, according to Recode, though they are one of the fastest growing categories of tech products. Amazon is looking to position its Alexa voice control platform as the center of the smart home ecosystem, so it makes sense that the company is looking for ways to help out curious but fearful customers get started.
Best Buy has had smart home services for a while now, with a similar free consultation service and installations services priced similarly.
Best Buy currently has a much larger network of “Geek Squad” service technicians around the country tied to its retail stores.
But now that Amazon is getting into home consultations, Best Buy should be worried that it will keep expanding.
Best Buy shares are tanking on the news.
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