The collaborative economy, which is based on sharing goods and services, has allowed companies to take latent resources and organize them into booming businesses. Startups no longer have to develop their own, proprietary systems and software; instead, they are able to integrate with other companies and save time and money in the process. Companies such as Uber, AirBnB, and TaskRabbit all demonstrate how the collaborative market can be a place of exponential success for B2C companies.
The Uber Economy
Uber, a private car/taxi/ridesharing mobile app, has created a $50 billion business, without owning a single vehicle! Based on their business model, and use of latent resources, they have been able to turn a profit without securing an inventory of vehicles to use in the ridesharing efforts.
Peapod, a grocery home delivery system offered by Stop & Shop, was the pioneer of grocery delivery, and invested millions in delivery vehicles, logistics, packing centers, etc. This was not the best use of the collaborative economy, though this type of economy was not as viable an option at the time of their inception. Instacart, essentially the Uber of grocery delivery, took notice of Peapod’s business model and adapted it to prosper in a collaborative economy. Now, they are on the fast track to growth and profitability, also without owning a single delivery vehicle.
The Uber of E-Business
These types of situations presented themselves in the B2B world as well, especially in the area of online software. Instead of building all of the technology necessary to support a range of functionality, great solutions integrate the best third party tools. While there are many companies that use this model, three companies do it exceptionally well: KISSmetrics, Marketo, and Shopify.
KISSmetrics, a marketing analytics platform, has crafted a business model that takes full advantage of the collaborative economy. They integrate with over 25 different technologies to create a comprehensive, valuable platform. The reason that they have been able to catapult themselves to success is that they know when to leverage existing technology. For example, instead of building their own e-commerce platform, they have leveraged already successful platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce. By creating integrations with these third party platforms, they have created the most comprehensive tool possible – without having to build their own e-commerce platforms.
Another great example of leveraging the sharing economy is seen in Marketo, a global digital marketing company. Instead of building their own Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) software, they have leveraged others that have already been developed. By creating native integrations with powerhouse CRM systems such as SalesForce, SugarCRM, and ORACLE, they have positioned themselves as a leader in the digital marketing space; however, they did not have to develop their own programs in order to achieve this objective.
Shopify rounds out the list of the top three. Being one of the most popular platforms to support e-commerce transactions is no easy task. Shopify has been able to do it thanks, in part, to the sharing economy. By making the decision to integrated with already successful apps, such as Mailchimp for their mailing list, and Chargify for selling recurring subscriptions, they have taken advantage of the sharing economy and leveraged the already available technology in their favor.
Drinking the Kool-Aid
We believe that success leaves clues. Since other companies had been so successful in leveraging the sharing economy, we decided to do the same with our tool, Optim.io. Optim.io integrates over 200 powerful software products, that would have cost us billions of dollars to create on our own. Creating integrations with reputable, valuable software products that were already on the market, has allowed us to create a tool which gives our clients access to a performance optimization dashboard. This dashboard allows clients insight to make real-time decisions about situations that impact their conversion rates.
The sharing economy looks like it is going to be the way of the future for both B2B and B2C markets. A willingness to embrace this shift, and the technology already in place, will create the best situation for a business as it will take less resources and provide an easier return on investment.