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Big Boxes Focusing on In-Home Services

As e-commerce websites like Amazon continue to grow in popularity among consumers, big-box retailers are providing in-home services to compete and remain relevant.

Companies like “Walmart, Home Depot and the Container Store are hiring contractors to go to customers’ homes to perform services that include furniture assembly, appliance installation and expert advice on the organization of a customer’s living space,” technology website Digiday reports.

Home Depot has a wide array of projects and repair services offered by its Home Services contractors. The home improvement retailer manages its own contractors to mitigate risks. The company performs background checks on them to offer a consistent experience, according to the Digiday article.

“All of the demographic trends are pointing to continued growth in the ‘do it for me’ market—with baby boomers’ aging in place, millennials entering the housing market in greater numbers, and more customers looking for time back in their lives,” Home Depot company spokesman Nick Smith told Digiday.

On the other hand, Walmart has been outsourcing its in-home service offerings, partnering with Handy, a digital platform that connects plumbers, cleaners and general-service contractors with customers needing furniture and appliance installation.

Handy provides the retailers it partners with many additional resources. In addition to Walmart, Handy has a partnership with furniture retailer Wayfair and is testing its services with a handful of other retailers, Digiday reports. The company offers its clients a technology platform to track contractor timeliness, customer satisfaction with work and project difficulty levels as reported by contractors, allowing retailers to learn more about their customers.

Ikea is another company that has focused on offering in-home services, acquiring TaskRabbit last September. Since the acquisition, TaskRabbit services are now offered at every Ikea store in the U.S. and key areas in the U.K. While TaskRabbit is a major new offering from Ikea, under their partnership agreement, the company is also able to work with other potential partners, according to Forbes.

While big-box retailers are ramping up in-home services, many independent home improvement retailers have been offering these services for a long time. In the January 2018 issue of Hardware Retailing magazine, we featured retailers that serve the ‘do-it-for-me’ customer through installed sales and handyman services.

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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