This is a BattlePlan Virtual digital content, research, informational, current state of business discussion/explainer.

What are Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces?

A peer-to-peer marketplace is a website that connects people who own a product or offer a service with people who want to buy or rent it. Such marketplaces are truly a diverse, global phenomenon, divided into 3 categories, rentals, products and services.

See the examples below:

Peer-to-peer RENTALS:  

  • Airbnb and Vrbo – Space rentals
  • Swimmy – Swimming pool rentals
  • Suites and Villas – The World’s Leading Suites and Villas
  • Scouter – Where photographers and filmmakers can find locations, props, and equipment to rent by the hour or day

Peer-to-peer PRODUCTS:

  • Etsy – Unique goods and personalized gifts
  • Sommly – Artisanal wine marketplace
  • Vulpilist – Buy and sell classical menswear
  • Anapoima un a clic – A platform for goods and services in the Colombian province of Tequendama
  • The Octopus Club – Marketplace for kids’ stuff

Peer-to-peer SERVICES

  • Uber, Lyft, Turo – Rideshares 
  • Amphy – A marketplace for live online classes
  • Wheelprice – A marketplace for wheels and automotive parts

Uber and Airbnb are just a couple of now familiar names in business. They run on models that break from the traditional structure where businesses have a product to sell. Uber and Airbnb thrive on the share economy. What does that mean, exactly? What can progressive business minds learn from them?

The Share Economy — How It Works

A share economy is when owners rent out something they are not using, such as a car, house, or bicycle to a stranger [peer] using “peer-to-peer” services. 

Uber, Airbnb, Snapgoods and DogVacay and all that are listed above are all examples of businesses that work on the share economy system. You can see the diversity of spaces, products and services available for “sharing” within each category, as well as, the global reach of peer-to-peer marketplaces.

For the consumer, using share economy businesses is generally safe. Owners of goods and services that build a solid reputation can make a significant income. The parent company also benefits by taking a fee for helping people connect with each other.

According to The Economist, one expert estimates that the peer-to-peer rental market is worth around $26 billion and could be well worth your time and energy.

Benefits for Businesses and Participants

One of the primary benefits for the businesses that manage peer-to-peer connections is that they don’t have to create any products of their own. They use what others already have. Of course, they have to manage these assets. For example, Airbnb sends photographers to take snapshots of new rentals. Uber has to enforce standards about the type of cars that are acceptable under their service. Overall, these processes are fairly simple.

Participants — both owners and renters — benefit as well. Owners get more out of underused assets, and renters may end up saving money.

There is also powerful networking potential in share economy businesses. Many professionals use Uber, and Uber drivers can chat with those professionals, getting leads on job opportunities or good deals on products. Airbnb users develop connections with people who live in the area where they’ll be visiting, making for richer vacations.

Sometimes, share economy businesses even touch the heart. For example, with DogVacay, pet owners can leave their furry family members in a cage-free environment where the dogs will get personal attention. The pet owners have no reason to feel guilty about leaving “Zuri” or “Boomer” behind for a while.

Challenges for Share Economy Businesses

Uber is famous not just for its rideshare services, but also for its legal challenges. Taxi companies and other entities want to fight Uber’s expansion.

Another issue that some share economy businesses face is that of reputation. These businesses place their fates in the hands of strangers and reviews, and as much as they try to ensure product integrity, bad apples may still slip through.

Notes to Consider Regarding the Share Economy

What can entrepreneurs and business leaders glean from operations like Etsy, Uber, Airbnb and many others?? 

  • Sometimes, you don’t need a product. You just need an idea and a way to market it!
  • Helping people connect with each other is a powerful way to make money, and by helping people rent out their goods, you’re helping to create a new breed of entrepreneurs!
  • The share economy is still relatively young, but it doesn’t seem likely that it will disappear anytime soon. Indeed, peer-to-peer companies are spearheading a business revolution!

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