Ikea and Task Rabbit: What can we learn?

October 18, 2017

By: Amanda Batista,
Author Title: 
Head of Global Content
, Magento Commerce

Ikea is famous for affordable furniture, meatballs, and cryptic assembly instructions. Who hasn’t struggled for hours to build a “FJÄLKINGE” shelving unit, only to find five mystery screws left over at the end?

Those days might soon be over. This month, the Ikea Group acquired TaskRabbit, an on-demand services platform that connects consumers with skilled ‘taskers.’ These freelance workers help with moving and packing, general handyman work, home improvements, and of course, tricky furniture assembly.

The acquisition came as a surprise, but it could be a smart business move for Ikea. The Swedish mega-brand needs to further bolster its digital customer service capabilities to better compete with rivals likes Amazon. With Task Rabbit, Ikea may have answered one of its customer’s biggest complaints–that its furniture is hard to assemble.

Ikea has also released an augmented reality app for the iPhone (called “Ikea Place”) that allows a customer to virtually ‘see’ a sofa or table in their home before buying. Today, it’s critical for all eCommerce brands to offer the ultimate customer experience hub. And that requires some outside-of-the-box thinking.

We’re seeing exciting cross-industry pollination happening throughout retail:

1. ‘Borrow’ from other successful experiences

Furniture designer Tom Dixon created its own version of Pinterest to showcase products in real-world spaces. Their new, content-rich site is structured around three customer experiences: Shop, Spaces, and Stories. ‘Shop’ keeps customers close to product details and their shopping cart. ‘Spaces’ allows interior designers and their customers to see products in real restaurants, hotels, offices, and bars. ‘Stories’ features blog content, driven by their customers’ demands to see products in context. The overall effect allowed Tom Dixon’s customers to immerse themselves in the products and drive up conversion by 31 percent.

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2. Listen to your customers

Rousseau Metal wanted to streamline their sales process. The company developed a custom module allowing clients to make quote requests via an online form. Those requests are automatically sent to Rousseau Metal’s ERP system for fast follow-up. They also wanted to allow their customers to design their own metal work centers. Using Magento Commerce, Rousseau Metal created a Bay-Design configurator to allow clients to customize their bays by choosing colors and accessories. Throughout the project, Rousseau Metal focused on providing rich content, including case studies, product photography, corporate and product information.

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3. Be agile

For a business with no physical products or fulfillment needs, the Big Bus Tours operation was complicated: On any given bus there can be customers from 60 different countries, demanding multiple currencies and languages. They tapped Magento to build a new, fast, and content-rich webstore that allows for quick mobile ordering on the move. And as a fast-growing company, Big Bus Tours constantly acquires new, local bus routes. With Magento Commerce they can create a new store view, populate the content, and go-live in hours.

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The point of the IKEA example is that companies need to find natural adjacencies that enhance the customer experience. What opportunities do you see in your business to uberize your customer experience? How quickly can you augment, adjust or rethink your customer experience? These will be the defining questions for merchants in the next 12-18 months.