Amazon is experimenting with a premium service that allows customers to choose to assemble furniture as soon as it arrives home, according to To report New from Bloomberg.
The move, if widely adopted, helps the world’s largest online retailer compete more effectively with Wayfair, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s, which all offer similar options.
Amazon initially plans to offer the service in Virginia and two other markets.
The company currently offers scheduled delivery of large items, such as bunk beds and treadmills, to a specific room in the shopper’s home.
The new service requires drivers to unpack and assemble items, unpack, and take the item back if the customer is not satisfied.
Previously, customers had to ask a different person to come home at a different time to assemble the product.
Drivers can be trained to install appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers, which poses a specific threat to Home Depot, Lowe’s and Best Buy, which also sells appliances with installation services.
The new offering simplifies existing Amazon Home services, which are available in a limited number of cities.
Amazon Home services allow customers to hire contractors through the website to assemble furniture or install ceiling fans and wall-mounted televisions.
The new service is designed to make managing delivery more convenient, cheaper, and easier for Amazon.
Drivers are refusing the new service, and the concerns are over many issues, such as insufficient training.
One driver said the company does not take into account the crowded homes with narrow staircases, which can prolong deliveries.
Demand for larger items, such as desks and office chairs, has soared during the pandemic.
Shoppers are also becoming more willing to purchase expensive goods online that they previously preferred to purchase from physical stores.
Online sales of furniture and housewares jumped 41 percent in 2020 to $ 36.1 billion.
Sales are expected to continue to grow this year, albeit at a slower rate, to reach $ 37.3 billion.
The increase in demand for large items led to delivery bottlenecks and weeks of delays, creating an opportunity for Amazon to use its reputation for fast delivery to sell larger items, such as furniture.
The e-commerce giant has struggled to keep up with the tremendous success of Wayfair, which in 2019 replaced Amazon as the largest online household goods retailer in the United States.
Amazon owns its own furniture brands, and in 2019 it launched a virtual reality shopping Showroom feature that allows shoppers to see what furniture looks like at home.