Thoughts & Ideas
Amazon Launches Local Business Reviews Feature
As a new feature related to Amazon Local iPhone app, the mega-merchandiser has added a feature which permits customers to write their own reviews for local services and businesses. The locations (businesses) range from restaurants to spas. This new feature places Amazon in competition with Angie’s List, Yelp and Zagat (Google).
Amazon Local sells daily deals, in the same way as Groupon. The iOS app log states that the May 7 update is for support when customers want to read or write reviews about the deals and their locations. Groupon has a similar iPhone app supplied through its Yelp partnership.
Amazon is expected to launch a local marketplace presence for locating contractors, handymen and babysitters, according to Reuters. The official launch could be by the end of 2014 or even earlier.
The reviews collected so far on daily deals are typical of reader comments. One deal by the Lost Lake Cafe in the Seattle, which offered half off a $24 meal, received only three stars from a customer who complained that the Sloppy Joe was only average and the service slow. The customer didn’t like the variations on traditional diner food either.
Another restaurant reviewer used the space to complain about the couponing service, rather than the restaurant. The reviewer stated that one location provided smooth service, but redemption of the second location offer required waiting in line and a clerk having to call the supervisor in order to complete the transaction.
It looks like the local review service is in early stages, as their URL may need to be updated from the familiar “product-reviews” to something more appropriate like “customer-reviews” or “business-reviews”
The review page itself is very similar to amazon product page in addition to a map and a quick “about us” bio – http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Lake-Cafe/dp/B00KC94H2Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
Amazon’s reputation for product reviews is well known and used widely. This trust by consumers gives Amazon a position as a serious competitor in the local reviews arena. However, the online marketer isn’t giving Google and Yelp cause for concern yet. During its first month of operation, the Amazon Online app has only posted a handful of reviews for businesses. In part, that could be due to a quiet launch, or because the offers are limited.
We will see how it plays out this year, and what impact the new service will have on local business reviews.