Last week it was confirmed that Ikea has signed an agreement to acquire handyman marketplace TaskRabbit, which means they’re entering the gig economy.
So what on earth is gig economy?
According to Oxford Dictionaries it’s:
“A labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.”
TaskRabbit, the American equivalent to Australia based Airtasker, is a platform that connects local freelance handymen with people who need help with everyday tasks, like moving houses, assembling furniture, maintenance and so on. The company revenue is not very high, but they are profitable, have a great reputation and are well known.
Amazon was early to enter the gig economy as they started offering in-home services already a few years ago, and is now helping customers set up and learn about connected smart homes. This helps establish personal relationships and trust with their customer, which will influence future purchasing decisions. With Amazon taking 53 cents for every $1 spent online in the US last year, Ikea has seen the need to step up their game to improve their customer journey by offering seamless end-to-end experience. For customers in countries where Ikea offer home delivery, this is the last piece of the puzzle to make this journey not only seamless, but also effortless. Amazon is currently also using TaskRabbit to offer customer local help with tasks.
It’s said that Ikea wants to buy 100% of the shares in the company, but TaskRabbit will continue to be independently operated. However the details of how this will work in practice are yet to be revealed. This means that for now, Amazon will be able to continue using TaskRabbit for parts of their services.
Ikea has been slow to adapt to the world of online shopping, and as for Australia, we’ve still only got Ikea’s home delivery and click and collect options in parts of the country.
But if buying TaskRabbit was a strategic move to improve customers’ experience with Ikea and strengthen offer against Amazon in America, maybe their next move in Australia is to acquire Airtasker?
It would make sense with Amazon’s upcoming debut in Australia.
Here’s to hoping anyway, because we all know that Saturday or Sunday excursions to Ikea always end in hair pulling or all of that stuff you didn’t even know you needed.