Shares of Amazon (NYSE:AMZN) were up 0.59% Monday in premarket trade ahead of its annual Prime Day sale and news that the online retail giant is launching a smart home installation service. The service, aimed at educating customers, will compete with Best Buy’s (BBY) Geek Squad.
Recode reports that Amazon in the last few months has been hiring gadget experts who will offer free product installations and provide customers with a free Alexa consultation. Job postings have confirmed the rumors.
Amazon’s new service, which helps customers set up “smart home” systems, has already rolled out in seven markets, although it has yet to gain any traction.
The company’s smart home installation service is available in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County and San Francisco.
But Amazon (NYSE:AMZN) also appears to be hiring “field technicians” in other major cities, like Las Vegas, Dallas, Tampa, Miami, Hoboken and Houston. The job listing lists Geek Squad Double Agent and Apple Genius as preferred qualifications.
The company already connects customers to third-party service providers for other services, like plumbing and hardware installation, but Amazon appears to believe that smart home installation is important enough to hire in-house staff.
Smart home systems is one the fastest-growing segments in consumer electronics, but these products have such a high return rate because customers are unsure of how to pair products. Amazon’s in-house installation services could help solve that problem.
Amazon (NYSE:AMZN) To Promote Alexa
The new service, while educational and valuable to customers, also provides Amazon with a new way to sell and promote Alexa, its virtual assistant.
While the company charges up to $100 to install smart home thermostats, 45-minute Alexa consultations will also be given for free.
Amazon’s stock was up over 1% in the first hour of trade on Monday ahead of the retailer’s made-up holiday, Prime Day. The shopping holiday is expected to boost sales and Prime subscribers.