The Evolution Of Today's Next-Generation Sharing Economy Businesses

Jennifer Horowitz

The approach to building successful “sharing economy” businesses is shifting. Today’s next-generation platforms are following a different path from successful companies such as Uber, eBay, and Airbnb. The way that such newly found businesses are evolving is now considered one of the most prominent aspects of robustly growing the world economy.

Consider how much has changed from the beginning of the 21st century. In 2014, the sharing economy was still new. “Analog-type” best practices were part of the initial market trend. This involved consumers having access to social media, smartphones, and broadband Internet, all of which played a key role in the growth areas of the sharing economy at that time.

Fast-forward to today. Again, technology evolution in this space is happening rapidly.

You are probably pondering the pressing question: What is this new formula for sharing economy business success? With the competitiveness and increase in platforms in the marketplace offering similar products, customers are thirsty for key differentiators. Essentially, sharing-economy business success boils down to two main factors:

Building loyalty

Loyalty on such platforms creates high-growth opportunities. By focusing on the consumer end, suppliers are also satisfied, and vice versa. It is crucial to build trust initiatives in the technologies. A business can gain consumers’ and suppliers’ trust and best interests through innovation of their offerings in unique ways.

YourParkingSpace is a leading online parking marketplace for finding parking spaces, driveways, and garages for rent throughout the UK. The company regularly engages parking space owners by offering incentives for feedback and personalized advice to help them get the most from the platform, which ultimately builds loyalty.

“More traditional companies such as Amazon have driven a hard bargain with suppliers, driving prices ever lower. With a sharing economy, company suppliers are your customers, looking after them is an essential part of having a thriving service to offer your buyers,” according to Harrison Woods and Charles Cridland, co-founders of YourParkingSpace.

Developing loyal consumers is also an integral part of profoundly shaping behaviors worldwide. Recently, Uber suspended its self-driving vehicles following the tragic news that one of the ride-share company’s self-driving cars had killed an Arizona pedestrian. The sharing economy has a powerful influence on consumer trust.

Build loyalty, trust, and transparency instead of fear and doubt.

Curation

A wonderful way to win attention in the marketplace is to curate. Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. According to YourParkingSpace, “The one-size-fits-all approach of some of the larger, established online companies is no longer always the solution that customers want.” Curation is not a one-size-fits-all method.

Discerning buyers in the marketplace are causing platforms to develop even more personalized experiences. In a sharing economy model, safety and quality are high-risk. Make curation consistent and make it have a feeling of safety. Implementing curation develops stronger connections with your customers.

Every curation strategy for a business is unique. Your businesses offline experience should have a high level of curation to satisfy your customers. “People want unique experiences and products, something that’s a little out of the ordinary,” Woods and Cridland point out.

Today’s sharing economy evolution

The “sharing economy” movement has certainly been maturing. According to Juniper Research, the industry is expected to grow to double its current value by 2021. In the United States, the sharing economy industry currently serves over 44 million individuals in various strata and is expected to rise to above 89.5 million people by 2021. The sharing economy will reach $40.2B in 2022, in terms of platform provider revenues, up from $18.6B in 2017.”

The biggest players in the marketplace are Uber and Lyft, currently accounting for up to nearly 30 percent returns per “journey.” The rise of sharing businesses have grown significantly. Competitiveness has risen among newer start-ups that have been able to dominate and gain traction, and ultimately market share over existing companies.

There are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on within the shared economy space.

As more and more markets open up, suppliers will surely join in. Enterprise and businesses are considered a high-growth sector, and yet still somewhat under the radar. The disruption is creating a hotbed for all types of innovation.

Welcome to the sharing economy. Are you ready?

For more on business in the sharing economy, see Customer Experience: Catalyst Or Beneficiary Of Digital Transformation?


Jennifer Horowitz

About Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is a management consultant and journalist with over 15 years of experience working in the technology, financial, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, not for profit, and retail sectors. She specializes in the field of analytics, offering management consulting serving global clients from midsize to large-scale organizations. Within the field of analytics, she helps higher-level organizations define their metrics strategies, create concepts, define problems, conduct analysis, problem solve, and execute.