Walmart partners with Handy to offer assembly, installation services

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 520 views 

Walmart announced Monday (March 19) a partnership with Handy, a New York-based crowdsourced assembly service, to inspect, assemble and install electronics and furniture bought at more than 2,000 Walmart stores, including Arkansas.

Shoppers will have the option to purchase the handyman service at checkout, akin to  the retailer’s extended warranty option. The added cost will be a flat rate of $59 for furniture assembly and $79 for TV mounting and installation.

The retail giant has tested the white-glove service in the Atlanta market for several months and now plans to roll out the service nationally next month.

“At Walmart, we are tirelessly searching for new and creative ways to improve the everyday lives of our customers by providing great experiences that extend from our stores into their homes,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration with Walmart U.S. “Our program with Handy enables us to eliminate the friction of installation and assembly, and offer customers a convenient, delightful experience from start to finish. We know Handy’s services are going to be a big help to our busy customers.”

Customers purchase the add-on service at checkout and then schedule an appointment between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. for the service assembly and installation. Handy requires an adult be present in the home during the service.

“We are thrilled to work with Walmart to fundamentally enhance the way that their shoppers access the services needed to enjoy their purchases,” said Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder and CEO of Handy.

Walmart is merely selling the service, which Handy will perform and guarantee. Handy was founded in 2012 and this has worked with a 500,000 customers through its database of more than 80,000 independent professionals who sign up to work for the service, according to the company website.

White-glove installation is not new. Other retailers such as Ikea offer assembly via TaskRabbit, a program recently relaunched in select U.S. cities earlier this month following Ikea’s acquisition of the contract labor startup in September. Best Buy and Home Depot have offered in-home white-glove services since 2013 with the help of J.B. Hunt’s Final Mile platform. Hunt’s Final Mile in-home service delivers as well as installs appliances and exercise equipment and electronic systems and hauls away the older items.

Amazon has also offered similar service packages for smart home, smart office and other electronic installations using third-party service providers since last fall. Amazon said it screens all serviice providers and professionals it uses. Walmart is entrusting the vetting process to Handy, who said all of its professionals are background checked and rated by customers. Handy boasts an average 4.5-star rating on more than 45,000 customers reviews.

Handy said every professional is fully vetted through a three-step process which starts with pre-screenings and validation of experiences. Handy also partners with Jumio to use computer vision technology to verify the identification credentials of the professionals. A background check is also performed by Checkr. The search includes national, state and county databases stretching back at least seven years, and longer in certain jurisdictions.

The Handy partnership comes on the heels on another service Walmart is testing with August Home and Deliv to deliver groceries into the home and have the perishables put in the fridge. This is a small scale pilot in Silicon Valley which began in September for consumers who have an August smart lock system in their homes.

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