Walmart extends Handy service to online customers
Walmart and odd-job network Handy on Tuesday said that as of Wednesday their partnership offering Handy's assembly and installation services to Walmart customers has been extended online through walmart.com.
The online option, where customers can purchase Handy services with a single click at checkout, will roll out nationally through September, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive. Once paid for, shoppers schedule an appointment from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. to have a local pro set up items like furniture, lighting or smart home devices, the companies said.
In March, Walmart added Handy's installation and assembly services to more than 2,000 U.S. Walmart stores. The tie-up was previously in place in 25 Walmart stores in Atlanta.
This expansion of Handy's partnership with Walmart goes far in catching their partnership up to Ikea's takeover of similar home services company TaskRabbit. The Swedish furniture store acquired the startup last year and now offers home assembly online wherever TaskRabbit services are located and through six Ikea stores across the U.S., with more coming throughout the year.
The assertive services play comes as Walmart has nearly doubled its home assortment, with a variety of new furniture and home decor items. Home has become quite a crowded space, with legacy players like Pottery Barn as well as established online players and new entrants making inroads. Amazon in November launched two furniture brands, Rivet (with a mid-century modern design flair) and Stone & Beam (with a farmhouse or cottage approach). Target's new "Project 62" furniture line and eclectic home brand Opalhouse, meanwhile, are part of that retailer's renewed commitment to differentiated merchandising.
They're all taking advantage of consumers' increasing willingness to buy furniture online. Some 15% of $70 billion in U.S. furniture sales are now online, according to IBISWorld data.
The proliferation of assembly services may soon become a consumer expectation. "Walmart has always led on innovation, and they've learned quickly that services like assembly and installation are not just nice-to-haves," Handy Co-founder and CEO Oisin Hanrahan said in a statement.
They're nice-to-haves for retailers, too. Best Buy, for example, is emphasizing services through its Geek Squad, which has provided not only a revenue stream but also a powerful way to connect with customers. To emphasize that, the electronics retailer has swept away its old "Expert Service. Unbeatable Price" of past campaigns, including new ads that focus on "the Best Buy experience" rather than products.
Correction: This story has been updated to remove a statement from Walmart that the companies said was inaccurate.
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