In the early 1900s it was the emergence of local corner shops and general stores that dominated in rural America. Fast forward to the 1990s when the rise of the internet changed the way we absorb content, communicate and acquire goods. For all of the changes that have occurred over the last century, retail is being redefined once again, shifting the expectations of both retailers and shoppers.
Nobody can deny that Amazon is one of the most important and innovative companies on the planet. First, they provided products at lower cost, then to offering an endless aisle of products, personalized the shopping experience, and set a new standard for shipping expectations. Last year, Amazon introduced its entrance into home services. For example, you can now buy a new TV and add wall mounting to your shopping cart.
Retailers are finding ways to compete successfully against Amazon by specializing in niche areas of expertise through exceptional customer service, by having a unique selection of products at lower prices, through deals and offers, and with a delightful store shopping experience.
There is a giant opportunity to bolster shopper satisfaction, increase conversion, and boost repeat purchase rates by integrating home services deeply into the shopping experience. Why have a basketball hoop show up at your home that you have to figure out how to get on your garage, when a professional will do it for you? How many homeowners decide not to purchase a new toilet, ceiling fan, or appliance because of installation anxiety? How many of us end up regretting a purchase when we are up late at night trying to assemble the new piece of furniture or getting the pictures hung just right on our walls?
In April we unveiled our Porch Retail Solution and today, we announced a partnership with Lowe's-affiliated ATGStores.com, our latest retail partner who has embedded services within the shopping experience.
Rather than retailers having to build up their own independent contractor base, manage the quality of these contractors, and build the technology, there is now a retail service partner solution available that can be plugged in online, in-store, or via customer service centers. By making home services available omni-channel, a retailer can delight shoppers who need assistance in completing tasks such as installation, furniture assembly, plumbing, or more, can be connected to the right professionals in their area, anywhere across the country. This experience is already reducing customers' 'installation anxiety' and improving sell-through for retailers. Clearly there is an unmet shopper need.
When looking at the types of services that are needed to deliver the complete experience, Amazon realized the same thing we did 3 years ago--home services is the most important area to address because of the importance, pain, and friction that exists here. Products are showing up at people's homes and they need the right person to make sure it is setup and working perfectly.
Historically, there have been many retailers with services like product warranties, delivery and gift wrapping. The move from only selling a product to providing a solution has been underway--it has just never before been easy for a retailer to plug in a services solution without massive capital investment. Lowe's has been offering high quality and guaranteed installation, design, and remodel services for years.
Yet, most retailers have not met all their shoppers' needs because they do not yet provide installation or assembly services. The retailers that choose to offer home services will ultimately meet the new, higher expectations of their shopper and by doing so soon, gain market share.