The sharing economy is becoming more and more integrated into everyday life. From hailing an Uber in the city, to sleeping in a strangers Airbnb listing, we have embraced sharing each other's underutilized assets to have unique experiences.
In a recent article for Entrepreneur, content marketing strategist Derek Miller has outlined the three principles that have led to sharing economy success. To have a thriving share-based brand, you must create efficiency, trust, and community.
Turnkey is key
Think about how Uber has revolutionized the ride-hailing industry. Uber entered the commuting sector in 2009 and focused on improving the inefficiencies that existed with taxi cabs.
The traditional taxi cab service is limited by the inventory of cabs, drivers, and an accurate system for predetermining rates. Uber makes it easy for any qualified person to sign up to drive and created an innovative data-based pricing model. They have effectively eliminated inventory deficits and solved issues with outdated taxi fare estimates.
By focusing on efficiency, Uber has used technology to improve how we hail a ride, pay drivers and has enriched the overall experience. They have built one of the most recognizable brands in the industry by creating a turnkey solution.
Without trust, sharing doesn't work
Two-sided marketplace platforms usually don't manage inventory or sales, but simply facilitate transactions between parties. Their main focus hinges on creating a trustworthy environment that people feel comfortable using.
Airbnb's network of rental spaces are controlled by individual property owners and/or renters. Their marketplace relies on establishing trust in the platform through secure payment gateways, insurance, quality assurance, and other features that make it easy for people to open their homes to strangers.
The first step to building trust is to understand your customers. Invest some time and effort collecting information about your current clientele to learn their habits and interests. Creating a platform that is intuitive and takes their preferences into account is a great way to build trust and make sure they know you've considered them.
Build an active community
The biggest lesson to learn from the sharing economy is it takes a thriving community to make a thriving brand. Sharing brands are build through mass-dissemination and scalability, which is dependent on active communities.
As an entrepreneur, you should be focusing on building a community of customers and make it easy for them to interact around your product or service. The lifetime value of a customer will grow and retention will be easier when you allow people to connect with each other and your brand.
Some marketplaces grow out of an innovative technology or new answer to an old problem, but some grow around existing communities. Take Intel's Developer Mesh marketplace for example. Intel created a marketplace to bolster their community of developers to make it easier for them to collaborate on projects and connect through a branded online forum.
The most successful sharing economy businesses have excelled at improving efficiency, establishing trust, and investing in their communities. These three basic principles can help any entrepreneur grow in today's marketplace.