The sharing economy (sometimes called the collaborative economy or peer economy) is changing how we live, play, work, travel, create and consume, says a recent article. The momentum behind the movement is a power shift from large organizations to “distributed networks of individuals and communities.” In other words, power to the people. In ways that would have been unthinkable a decade ago, enterprising individuals are forming networks for creating, collaborating and consuming, enabled by the following factors:
Traditional corporations may think this trend among individuals has no bearing on the way they do business. But even if your company is old-school B2B (or B2C!), there are valuable marketing lessons to be learned from the sharing economy.
Ask yourself questions to see where you can be more exciting in your thinking. New collaborative models are revolutionizing or threatening established businesses – depending on whom you ask! Think of how the big hotel chains initially reacted to Airbnb’s soaring popularity – with suspicion and bickering over zoning and taxation. Instead of pushing back against a “disruptor,” the hospitality industry might have taken the opportunity to ask thoughtful questions, like these suggested by Fast Company:
Empower customers and create community. Trust is a cornerstone of the sharing economy. Companies like Airbnb build that trust by giving consumers control, transparency – and by building communities. Peer reviewers (read: brand advocates!) help guests feel comfortable staying at a given location and hold hosts accountable for providing a safe, clean and efficient experience. In terms of community, creating communication channels between people with shared interests fosters loyalty.
Step up your UX game. Your website’s UX, or user experience, can mean the difference between an online presence – or an online impact. Airbnb does a great job on UX. To do the same, think about:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of the sharing economy. Make sure to check out our new white paper, UX Demystified!, for more information on how to make sure your customers are having an exceptional experience with your website.