By Kristin Kulpinski
More than a third of workers in the United States carry out some sort of freelance through gig industry apps or other sources like temp agencies (or simply getting the jobs on their own). Since 2014, the freelance labor force has grown 3 times faster than the United States labor force at large.
Thanks to gig apps, which are simply online platforms that provide freelancers with temp job offers from businesses or customers, not only small businesses are taking advantage of this industry. Larger businesses and corporations are also leveraging on the opportunities that the gig economy has to offer.
How Larger Businesses are Filling In Sections of Their Workforce With the Help of the Gig Industry
Many large traditional brick and mortar businesses may be doing great physically, but not having a strong base in the digital space will have its impact on profit maximization for these big firms. Furthermore, consumer behavior is changing rapidly in favor of urbanization and digitization, therefore large businesses need to start taking steps towards having a considerable market share in the online market. They must start investing heavily in the digital advancement of their brands.
Most gig apps have been in the digital space for a longer time and can offer the technological leverage that these larger businesses need to stay relevant in a fast changing marketplace. Many large businesses are now beginning to consider taking advantage of the gig industry. To take full advantage of the opportunities that the gig industry provides, large companies need proper planning because of the merging of the two different worlds. A report in 2019 showed that about 41% of executives thought it was imperative to plan effectively for engaging freelancers, yet only a minor 8% of those surveyed actually had established strategies for including freelancers in their workforce.
One large business that is far ahead of its peers is IKEA – the Swedish furniture retail giant who in September 2017, acquired the odd-jobs gig economy platform, TaskRabbit. The large retail homeware company needed to develop their business in a faster and more flexible way as a response to the shift to online shopping which is a challenge for to traditional retail. They solved the problem of the changing needs of their customers by acquiring TaskRabbit.
TaskRabbit is a digital platform established which uses its app to match customers with “Taskers” who are skilled in home maintenance work like cleaning, decorating, deliveries and furniture assembly.
The acquisition of TaskRabbit still allows the gig economy platform to function as an independent company under the Ikea Group with Taskers considered as independent contractors of Ikea.
In the past, a lot of potential customers had shied away from purchasing Ikea’s products because of concerns about assembling furnitures after delivery. Ikea’s Taskers have alleviated these fears and it has proved to be a very profitable move for the large retail company. Adding these gig workers to their workforce has given Ikea the opportunity to spend more time with customers in their homes. Now all Ikea has to do is to ship the disassembled pieces of furniture anywhere in the world and call on local gig workers to help assemble the products in their customers’ homes.
Ikea not only sells furniture, but they now offer home maintenance services to their customers. What a way of achieving high customer loyalty in a very competitive market.