Walmart Expands In-Home Services Program Nationwide
Recognizing the need to offer more than just everyday low prices in order to entice customers to shop in their stores, Walmart announced that it is expanding its in-home services partnership with on-demand home services company Handy. The program, which has been available to customers at some 2,000 in-store locations, will roll out nationwide and make its appearance on the Walmart.com ecommerce platform.
The expanded service, first reported by Bloomberg, will give Walmart shoppers access to services like TV wall mounting or shelf hanging. Handy is a platform that offers “handyman” services like home cleaning, furniture assembly, smart device installation, and more. Currently, not all Handy services are available through Walmart, but the idea that the service could expand (or even the idea of a full-blown acquisition) isn’t out of the question.
“You’re seeing Walmart—which is traditionally known for a price competitive approach—thinking they need to compete on services,” Handy CEO Oisin Hanrahan said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’ve got a convenience-based economy where people value their time a lot but it’s also just a raw reality that the skills you need to do this work are in decline.”
The expansion of the partnership follows a trend of big box and other major retailers going all in on the services business. Best Buy is slowly transitioning its Geek Squad and other areas of their business into in-home service providers and professional troubleshooters for customers. Ikea purchased assembly service provider TaskRabbit last year. And Amazon has been making its own major investments in the in-home services space for some time now.
All of these moves combined should feel like pure validation for the independent retail channel, which has had a constant leg up on in-home services for years now. Dealers who have a supporting integration business should see these big-box programs as nothing more than proof they’ve been doing right by their customers since the beginning. And though major retailers are now getting into the in-home services game, where independent shops have the opportunity to tell a much different, more personalized story on their interaction with customers. Do you want a corporate professional to come into your home and hang that TV for you, or would you rather have someone do the job who you’ve been able to develop a relationship with and who knows you on a personal level? That has to be the message now for independent stores.