There are reports that a new local marketplace is set to be launched soon – entering the space that’s currently being led by review aggregators like Yelp and Angie’s List. And it’s going to be by an eCommerce and online retail heavyweight: Amazon.
In an exclusive report by Reuters, Amazon is said to be preparing to launch its own online marketplace, for businesses that range very broadly from home contractors and handymen to birthday clowns, babysitters, and other local service providers.
According to Reuter’s sources, Amazon will roll out the marketplace later this year, beginning with a single market, similar to the way it launched Amazon Fresh, its service for grocery deliveries.
If the reports are true, then consumer review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List will have a new big-name competitor entering their space. Apart from having crowd-sourced reviews and ratings of local businesses, both Yelp and Angie’s List also have platforms for connecting consumers directly to business owners in a wide range of service categories – as well as for publishing deals and special offers.
“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 websites and mobile applications,” read the Reuters report. “A local services marketplace would extend Amazon’s role as a middleman fo third-party vendors, which account for about 40 percent of Amazon’s sales.”
The upcoming marketplace also means that Amazon is likely to add and aggregate online reviews not just of products, manufacturers, and retail offerings – but of service-based businesses as well.
In fact, Amazon might already be doing that. A story on Geekwire confirms that, sometime last month, the retailer quietly launched the ability for Amazon users to write reviews of restaurants, spas, and local businesses.
“The reviews capability rolled out last month, part of an iPhone app update for Amazon Local, which sells daily deals, similar to Groupon,” reported Tricia Duryee. “According to the iOS app logs, the primary purpose of the update, which went live on May, was to support reading and writing customer reviews of some deal locations.’”