The rise of the gig economy has dawned upon Swedish furniture innovator Ikea. Its acquisition of TaskRabbit, dubbed by CNBC as “the contract labor marketplace company,” is seen by some business observers as Ikea’s way of competing with Amazon and possibly offering speedier delivery service. It could also lead to a rise in more last-mile delivery jobs.
Most of the innovative aspects attributed to Ikea involve the way furniture is assembled and displayed in their showrooms and not as much on the way its products are delivered to customers. TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot and her staff will remain in their positions as Ikea intends to operate the business as a separate company.
According to its official website, TaskRabbit provides labor ranging from moving and packing to furniture assembly services. The labor provided is based on a platform similar to Uber’s.
Clicking the “moving and packing” button on the TaskRabbit home page leads a visitor in need of services to a questionnaire. Vehicle requirements are simply listed as “not needed for task,” “task requires a car,” or “task requires a truck.” Items that need to be moved are then enumerated on the “Task Details” box.
TaskRabbit is seen to benefit from this deal as it could end up providing services for customers of both Ikea and Amazon.
TaskRabbit is born out of the “gig economy,” and through technology is able to connect those willing to provide services with those needing services. Ikea could use the TaskRabbit acquisition as a way to not only allow its customers to receive assembly and set-up assistance, but also as a potential delivery service. That could create more local “white glove” services where a small carrier or contractor handles delivery and setup of Ikea products.
Ikea is still going strong with annual estimated sales of $36 billion worldwide. But with 389 stores globally employing approximately 183,000 workers, the stakes keep rising with the advent of constantly innovating retail platforms that now include home goods items either delivered as they are or delivered and assembled right in the comfort of the customer’s home.
Ikea offers an augmented reality app for customers that allows them to scan their room and virtually place Ikea furniture in it to see how it will look.