Amazon is Breaking Into Our Industry. Should We Be Worried?
Amazon recently announced a mass-hiring initiative of 5,000 people — all of whom will be able to work from the comfort of their homes. Imagine flipping pancakes in your PJs as you take your morning calls!
Work-from-home opportunities are more in-demand than ever. By giving employees what they want, Amazon is solidifying its place as an industry leader.
But the industry Amazon leads is not as clear as it used to be. Back in 1994, Jeff Bezos launched the company as an online book retailer — but Amazon has rapidly cracked into a variety of other industries that go beyond the typical e-commerce space. When we found out they’d added home services to their list of offerings … well, let’s just say we started paying attention.
A behemoth like Amazon is an obvious threat when it starts looking at your industry with interest. A tech-based company inherently sees services through a different lens, and has the capacity to totally control the way customers connect with service providers. Just like Amazon acts as a search engine for literally every product consumers need, it is now doing the same with home services.
It works like this: you enter your information for a specific service, and Amazon gives you an aggregated list of vendors in your area. Then you can add the service to your shopping cart and check out as usual. Amazon has effectively made booking a painting job as easy as ordering a blender.
But in this day and age, online booking does little to set a business apart — so an industry takeover is not as cut-and-dried as simplifying the purchase process. That’s only the first part of the customer journey; the delivery is what truly matters.
With product delivery, the quality of a product isn’t the distributor’s responsibility; so after they’ve made a sale, it makes sense for companies like Amazon to pay less mind to the follow-through. But when it comes to service, quality assurance becomes much more difficult to monitor. Completing the journey and going the last mile becomes paramount — especially when the service deals with something as personal as someone’s home.
I’m always amazed when I order something on Amazon and it shows up on my doorstep the very next day. But more often than not, when the delivery person arrives, there’s little-to-no indication that they’re even from Amazon. There’s no uniform or branding or professionalism — and it’s this crucial last step that Amazon lacks. It’s the same with their services: once the appointment has been booked, a contractor takes over and Amazon wipes its hands clean.
Each of our brands at O2E Brands has four Exceptional Focus Areas specific to its industry. For 1–800-GOT-JUNK?, for example, we promise on-time service; upfront rates; clean, shiny trucks; and friendly; uniformed drivers. If we don’t follow through on each and every one of those factors, we undercut the entire customer experience and our credibility as a brand.
Our brand awareness is one of the biggest reasons for our success; our customers come to us because we deliver a level of service they expect in a timeline that’s unexpected, for a reasonable price. We take care of our customers from the start of the journey to the end. But a 1–800-GOT-JUNK? customer is not the same as an Amazon customer, and not everyone is looking for the same experience.
For a personalized experience, people come to us. For a one-stop target shop, they turn to Amazon — and in that way, Amazon delivers. But unless Amazon can find a way to brand and bring their home services in-house…I don’t think we have anything to be afraid of.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.