The new economy
You may have all heard about it or personally experienced its products or services, the shared or social commerce economy. Succinctly, social commerce is the use of social networks in the context of e-commerce transactions. It includes collaborative e-commerce tools that enable shoppers to get advice from trusted individuals, find goods and services and then purchase them.
With the penetration of smart phones and greater user adoption, the concept of shared commerce has recently garnered quite a bit of attention. Some good, some bad. You have fairly successful young companies like Uber, Airbnb, GrabTaxi, TaskRabbit and GoGoVan, taking the lead in this nascent industry, challenging established industry players and the norms of business practises and operations. Though, there has been a few instances where the governing laws were tested and sometimes bent, this new way of connecting consumers to resources is probably just beginning to have it presence felt.
The law aside, which sometimes are a tat bit behind its times, the shared commence promises to make our economy more efficient and productive. Make ownership of resources more transparent and reallocate risks, accountability and responsibilities. It opens the opportunity for everyone to be their “own” bosses and master of their own time and destiny. It maximizes utilization of time, assets, processions, knowledge and skills. It changes the concept of employment and the framework of work. It’s supposed to transform the structure of the economy and displaces established framework of commercial workflow and hierarchy.
The ability to streamline and connect resources to users real time, on-demand, creates endless possibilities of new and different business models and opportunities. The mobile and internet technologies has brought about this revolution. It’s arguable if we are all ready for it. There is probably a need to amend some laws and regulations to accommodate this new form of commerce. There is probably a learning cure for certain sector of the society to accept this new way of doing business. There are probably some trials and errors these new players will go through to further refine their value propositions and business models. And yes, there is probably going to be losers and winners in this process. But, just like the internet, the shared economy is here to stay.
We can all further expound on this topic when we next meet at the 2015 HP Alumni Gala dinner, on Friday, Oct 30th. Please mark your calendar, and more information will be forth coming. Till then, try tapping on that app on your smart phone that will help you rent out your Nike running shoes sitting on the shoe rack 😉