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Major retailers are trying to figure out ways to appeal to customers beyond just selling them products. Nordstrom has a store that doesn't stock any clothes but has a place to relax with wine and espresso or a manicure. Amazon is offering the services of plumbers and dog walkers. And now Walmart has linked up with a home service that's like having staff on call. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports on the retailer's latest move.
ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: Walmart has been trying a lot of things lately - same-day delivery, groceries dropped directly into your fridge, even a personal shopping service. This is Walmart trying to defend its No. 1 retailer spot from Amazon. One of the biggest battles is convenience. Enter the man who knows all about it.
OISIN HANRAHAN: I'm Oisin Hanrahan. I'm the co-founder and CEO of Handy.
SELYUKH: Handy is an app and a website where you can book home services.
HANRAHAN: From handypeople to cleaners, to electricians, carpenters.
SELYUKH: This kind of professional help is always in demand, sometimes for unexpected reasons.
HANRAHAN: We had a funny one recently where - a child that had clearly gotten their parents' log in and asked a handyperson to come along, but had put in the comments that they don't need any tools, but they wanted an essay written.
SELYUKH: OK, homework is not part of the offer. But what appealed to Walmart was furniture assembly and TV mounting services. So now people who buy furniture and TVs at more than 2,000 Walmart stores may get a deal from Handy to assemble or install their new purchases. This kind of service is already offered by online retailer Wayfair, and of course Best Buy is well-known for its Geek Squad. And Ikea recently bought TaskRabbit, the massive marketplace for various professional services, including people who will assemble furniture for a fee. Alina Selyukh, NPR News.
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