Bengaluru: Ecommerce firm Flipkart has quietly entered the home services business, starting with AC servicing, people aware of the matter said.
It is providing the service through Jeeves, an after-sales services company it had acquired several years back. The service is live in cities like Bengaluru and Kolkata and will soon be expanded to other top Indian cities.
Flipkart’s home services business is likely to also include washing machine repairs and other similar offerings going forward, covering the product categories sold on the ecommerce platform, the people said.
This means Urban Company (previously Urbanclap) now has a new competitor in Flipkart, after several of its peers faded away, failing to get traction and survive a funding slowdown around 2016-17. Urban Company has been able to become a nation-wide at-home services provider, including of beauty-related services. Flipkart will, however, not enter beauty services, the people said.
ET reported on April 6 that Tata Digital was also looking to enter the at-home services space.
Flipkart didn’t respond to an email seeking comment till press time Sunday.
Discover the stories of your interest
So far, Jeeves has been used by Flipkart to offer installation services to consumers who buy large appliances like AC, washing machine or furniture on the platform. Now, a consumer can place an order for AC servicing regardless of where it was bought from, including rival marketplaces.
“They (Flipkart) have been building these capabilities for years now and are opening up to consumers now directly. Directionally, it will get extended to the main categories where such services are needed, periodically” a person aware of the matter said.
This marks Flipkart’s entry into another new business area, adding to the likes of travel and epharmacy.
While Jeeves has been an integral part of Flipkart since its acquisition in 2014, the company recently announced that Jeeves would also be opening up its services to external brands for their installation, demo and repair requirements. ET reported that Flipkart had also opened up its logistics arm Ekart to external ecommerce firms to deliver their shipments.
Flipkart has also been bullish on building its social commerce platform, Shopsy, and doubling down on its grocery business. In an interview with ET in January, group chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy said the company would scale up these businesses this year.
ET reported in April that the Walmart-owned retailer, through its Singapore entities, had invested more than $800 million into several businesses like Flipkart Marketplace, its new healthcare business, and fashion retailer Myntra.
The home services market has been a challenging one. While the early movers in the sector were lead-generation companies JustDial and Sulekha, by 2015 companies such as Urban Company and Housejoy decided to take a step further by controlling the experience as well. Around the same time, startups like TaskBob and Doormint also emerged, but they either shut down or moved to other businesses.
Stay on top of technology and startup news that matters. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest and must-read tech news, delivered straight to your inbox.