“There are 80 million sharers in the U.S,” opened Kevin Cohen, Director of Marketing for Near Me - a platform enabler of branded online marketplaces, “and $9 billion in venture capital funds being poured into the sharing economy, particularly transportation products, like Uber and Lyft.”
He went on to explain that there are three key factors fueling the growth of the sharing economy – an independent lifestyle, sustainability, and a revolt against consumerism.
The sharing economy positions consumers to fight against the rising costs of goods – by, say, renting dresses or sharing rides rather than purchasing these products and services at full price. Consumers can then redirect their dollars to other needs, or back to their bank accounts. It also allows users to access a new way to make money, whether by becoming shared-ride drivers or renting their sporting equipment, as a source of secondary – or even primary – income.
While there are numerous benefits to the consumer, companies also stand to benefit from the emergence of the shared economy. Cohen advises businesses to capitalize on branded peer-to-peer marketplaces, and noted that companies will lose money by not creating a community within their customer base.
“The foundation of the sharing economy is the community that it creates,” Cohen said, “with social networks such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter creating instantaneous feedback loops.”
In addition to the presence of social networks, Cohen also cited the increased use of mobile devices – advising that that companies create a mobile site before desktop applications when developing a new product – and stored payment solutions, such as 1-click payments on Amazon as a driver for company success within the shared economy.
“Companies lose money, data and customer touchpoints in secondary market places,” Cohen closed.