But Amazon isn’t stopping there. The company realizes that great sales are only one piece of the success, and to stay dominant long term they need to ensure high usage from the customer base. So how does the online retailer turned device maker ensure usage?
Last year, Amazon quietly started rolling-out smart home installation services in select areas, similar to Best Buy’s Geek Squad service. Amazon spent the second half of 2016 hiring field technicians who, according to the job postings, “have an obsession with Customer satisfaction and a passion for consumer technology” in major West Coast metro areas to test out the idea (Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix).
Now halfway through 2017, it’s time for Amazon to expand the smart home installation service.
According to job posting data found within the Burning Glass Technologies’ software product line (up to June 2017), Amazon has published job postings in or near New York City (#1 MSA), Dallas (#7), Houston (#9), Miami (#10), Orlando(#19), Tampa (#21), Las Vegas (#30), and Austin (#34) so far this year.
Interestingly, population centers such as Chicago (#3), Washington-Baltimore (#4), Boston-Providence (#6), Philadelphia (#8), and Atlanta (#11) do not have any job opening activity as of June 30, 2017.
The lack of job postings begs questions such as: how is Amazon choosing where to implement the smart home services? Will Amazon continue to hire field technicians or will they sub-contract to other companies within some MSAs? What are the Alexa product line sales by MSA and how does that information match up to the smart home installation service offering?
Even without immediately capturing some of the top 10 most populated MSAs, the strategy – if profitable – is sound. All of the MSAs but NYC are clustered to provide infrastructure support across at least 3 MSAs, which should provide cost efficiencies. The markets are still big enough combined to have Alexa customer volume, and positioned in the warmer climates that traditionally attract a population that may need help with home installation services and have the money to pay for it.
And from a customer point-of-view, who doesn’t want to be like an Alexa commercial and get immediate satisfaction from whatever the situation? By offering services that can allow the most novice of technology users to master smart home equipment, Amazon is building a loyal customer base who will, in turn, consider buying the next generation products as they launch. With 15,000 voice apps (or Alexa ‘skills’ as some have called them) successfully integrated, Amazon is positioned to remain the leaders in voice-activated devices going forward.
It will be interesting to see how quickly Amazon targets the remainder of the top 20 MSA areas in the coming weeks and months.
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