On Monday, Best Buy shares slid more than 7.5 percent after Recode first reported that Amazon is planning to launch a Geek Squad service of its own.
Best Buy’s Geek Squad is made up of technology experts who help customers install, protect, or repair products ranging from smart home gadgets to appliances and cell phones. The Geek Squad even fixes products that were not purchased from Best Buy stores.
Amazon’s new service sounds mighty similar. According to Recode, the online retail giant is “hiring an army of in-house gadget experts to offer free Alexa consultations as well as product installations for a fee inside customer homes.” Appointments for the new in-home services can already be booked through Amazon.com in seven West Coast cities — Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Orange County, California; but Recode could not get an Amazon spokesman to comment on the service.
Fees for Amazon’s new service vary. On the “Amazon Smart Home Services Store” page on Amazon.com, the price to set up an Amazon Fire TV is $10, while installing an ecobee3 Smart Thermostat will cost you $99. Some of Amazon’s services come with a 20% discount due to Prime Day (July 11), which unofficially starts tonight at 6 p.m. and runs for 30 hours total. Amazon notes that its service experts are Amazon employees and not contractors.
“They have been handpicked for their technology experience, passion for customer service, and strong track record. Our experts are like your technology-savvy best friend. They listen to your needs and customize solutions that work for you,” the page states.
Best Buy experienced a solid first quarter earlier this year after shares hit an all-time intraday high of $60.14 in May. Best Buy attributed its unexpected growth to new hardware and consumers’ willingness to spend tax refunds. CNBC notes, however, that Wall Street seems to fear whenever Amazon enters a new market.
Best Buy’s stock drop is roughly a loss of more than $1 billion in market cap for the electronics retailer.
Danita White for TechFunnel.com