Ikea is creating an Ikea-free experience. Yesterday, the Swedish furniture and lifestyle company acquired the gig-economy platform TaskRabbit, which will continue to operate as an independent company. The end goal is likely to use TaskRabbit’s established platform–which lets people pick up odd jobs and tasks on-demand–to make it frictionless for Ikea customers to hire someone to purchase and assemble their furniture for them.
The acquisition is just the latest in a series of moves by Ikea that show it evolving into a more tech-savvy company. Over the past year, Ikea also developed more connected products (including software), launched an augmented reality shopping app, and said it would start selling through third-party online retailers (Amazon and Alibaba are rumored to be in consideration). Together, it could drastically change what it means to shop Ikea.
Ikea has a very particular user experience. You travel (often far) to one of its massive blue box stores. You walk through faux living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, scribbling which products you like on a piece of paper before going into the warehouse and physically hauling boxes onto a cart. Then you load everything into your car, drive home, and build it yourself. The entire experience is grounded in physically being in the store for long periods of time–good thing there’s a cafeteria and daycare!–and performing the labor yourself.
That’s beginning to change. Ikea is moving from a you-do-it-all to a tech-does-it-all approach, where you won’t have a lift more than a finger to buy a new living room–and you can do it all from the comfort of your current living room.
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