Service provision of bricks-and-mortar services (e.g. cleaning, gardening) poses several challenges to the consumer. Finding a service provider as well as ordering and coordinating the service provision, requires intensive interaction between consumer and service provider. Due to the regional anchoring of these services, they are, to a large extent, provided by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This poses additional challenges to the consumer: the market is fragmented and processes differ across service providers and industries. This problem is well-solved for tangible goods: consumers buy goods from different sellers via one marketplace (such as Amazon marketplace, eBay, etc.) and a seller-independent process. For services a similar consumer support is lacking. In this paper we address the gap from a consumer’s perspective by proposing a software architecture that integrates standard applications and modules to support the consumer process. While the work is still in progress, first practice applications demonstrate the artifact’s usefulness and viability.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/hubert_oesterle/318/