Lest IKEA customers spend precious weekends and vacation days assembling affordable furniture based on wordless instructions, the company has announced it will buy San Francisco-based on-demand task-doer service TaskRabbit, i.e. the Uber for handymen and those well versed in assembling IKEA wall units.
"In a fast-changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers' lives a little bit easier", IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin said in a statement.
The Netherlands-based home furnishing retailer is buying 100 percent of the company's shares, and TaskRabbit will continue to operate as an independent company, Ikea said Thursday in a news release.
Ikea said it tested TaskRabbit in its stores in London a year ago and plans to roll out the service in USA stores and more United Kingdom locations.
TaskRabbit will also help Ikea expand in the digital furniture market, where it is now in tough competition with Amazon. The program offers fixed pricing for Ikea customers seeking someone to assemble furniture purchased from Ikea - a famously tricky task.
"TaskRabbit is making life better for both consumers and Taskers", she said. With Ikea's large footprint - it operates 357 stores in 29 countries - Ikea said the partnership could expand to other countries soon. The transaction is expected to close in October. At the same time, operating independently, TaskRabbit "will continue to partner with other retailers and commercial partners", the company said.
Ikea intends to use TaskRabbit, which offers a shared-economy platform, for connecting customers with skilled "taskers" for services such as furniture assembly, moving, packing and handyman work.
Beginning today, online shoppers who need help with handyman tasks, furniture assembly and product installation can view and compare Taskers' ratings, reviews and prices before directly hiring them.