Shared economy trend, or peer-to peer commerce, started in 2008 by Airbnb, community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world, disrupt old notions about consumption and ownership. The idea behind this life-changing trend is using digital platforms to rent the temporary unused assets to other peers who would rather take on lease than buy things from company. In the last couple of years American market saw an outburst of sharing economy firms and marketplaces. With the rise of online rent and taxi services, the CIS markets slowly catch up on the fancy lifestyle trend.
We put together some entrepreneurial ideas Russian, Ukrainian entrepreneurs and businessmen from other CIS countries can benefit from.
1. Help neighbors become friends and build stronger local communities.
People in neighborhoods can share cars, homes, skills and time. “Sharing creates new value, giving us more flexibility and extra income. Consuming directly from people we can trust is more affordable, more social, and less wasteful”, says the Peers website. The Peers is a member-driven organization that supports the sharing economy movement. Neighbors use the platform to organize inside their communities to do such things as planning fashion swaps where people can share clothes they no longer wear, and trade for new ones they’ll enjoy.
Other similar startup Neighborgoods allows sharing goods between neighbors, like, tools, home appliances or apparel.
2. Make renting stuff easier, more safe and fun.
Building an easy and intuitive platform for people to rent the stuff that is not being used can kickstart sharing movement, promote a more sustainable way of consuming that saves natural resources, and support local rental businesses. One of the examples of such platform is Zilok.com, an online marketplace that allows individuals and professionals to list any kind of items for rent, so that anyone can rent them. Zilok shows listings of all the items for rent in a given location along with their price, conditions and available dates, conveniently mapped around the location of the user.
3. Rethink the second-hand market.
Why not build a convenient online thrift/renting store? San Francisco-based online service thredUP is one of such boutiques. “thredUP is the easiest way to save money on great Women’s and Kids’ clothing brands and sell clothes for cash. We’re like a consignment store, but simpler. On thredUP you can refresh your entire wardrobe online without ever leaving your house”, says their website.
Tradesy.com is another consignment startup. It functions as an online thrift shop, focusing on gently used items, such as designer apparel and accessories.
4. Organize ride and parking sharing on various terms and conditions
The rise of ride sharing startup movement showed that people need a wide range of services like that, from sharing cheap/donation-based rides to reliable online taxi services. Let’s take a closer look at some examples. Zimride puts itself as a new spin on ridesharing, using social networks to enable real connections, as it explains how the service works on its website. Peers can book seats online and build ride sharing communities. Another service, Lyft, created by Zimride, only takes “donations” because it is not a taxi service. It is a ride sharing service for people to find rides from “regular” people who have a car.
RelayRides is a car renting service, a marketplace where car owners can list their vehicles, and those that need a ride can rent one by the day, week, or even month.
Parking Panda is a service that allows drivers to list their empty spaces and others to rent them as needed.
5. Open up local handmade and services market
Taking a dog for a walk, babysitting or helping out with baking a birthday cake – all such services can be outsourced to local community. For example, California-based online firm DogVacay offers a way to find a local dog-sitter.
Zaarly is a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to provide services for others. It focuses on creating “stores” for sellers to market their services, from home repair to iPhone repairs.
TaskRabbit is a mobile marketplace for people to hire people to do jobs and tasks, from delivery, to handyman to office help. Founded in 2008, the site has 4,000 Taskrabbits on the service nationwide who bid to do tasks that are posted by people looking for a service.
You can recreate your working business by adding a “sharing” component to it. Some areas in which shared economy can work perfectly:
- Restaurants and hospitality
- Local services, etc.