IKEA hops aboard the service trend

Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

When kitting out the bedrooms of my house the decision about new wardrobes involved me employing a carpenter. But the cost was astronomical for the size and complexity required. Each of the carpenters from whom I took quotes suggested the best alternative was to source the wardrobes from IKEA and employ a professional DIY person to construct them.

Their view was that the poor reputation of IKEA (and prior to that MFI, for those people who remember) for flat-pack furniture was unjustified because the wonky doors that fell off and the uneven shelves were more often a failing of the person putting the item together than a fault with the actual furniture.

Time to call TaskRabbit

Such was the poor reputation of MFI in fact that when it merged with Asda the joke was that Asda became the only place where you’d buy a chicken and the legs would fall off.

The recent purchase by IKEA of TaskRabbit – the online marketplace for odd jobs – suggests the Swedish retailer is taking a leaf out of the carpenters’ books and recognising that many of its customers need help when constructing IKEAs home furnishing items.

The purchase follows a trial of TaskRabbit in the London stores of IKEA last November. Customers were given the options of building the products themselves, using IKEA’s in-house assembly service, or booking an independent person – or ‘tasker’ – from TaskRabbit where fees began at £20.

This is just one more example of how retailers are increasingly looking to tap into services – in order to improve the lives of their customers and develop another revenue stream. John Lewis recently launched its Home Solutions service in certain stores to give customers access to John Lewis-vetted trades people. This follows the likes of Team Knowhow that Dixon’s Carphone offers to its customers to help them with setting up their IT equipment at home.

IKEA is very much a forward-looking organisation so it is likely that its move on TaskRabbit will herald an even greater move by the retail industry to align itself with such add-on components that make them less about simple selling more stuff.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.