The Sharing Economy has been gaining a lot of popularity and followers throughout different industries and places in the world. It’s based on a simple assumption: sharing resources, substantially reducing the costs associated with using them, making the same resources available to a community.
It’s a trendy model, allows more efficient use of resources and some of the most talked-about companies worldwide, such as Uber and Airbnb are applying it quite successfully. The sharing economy allows any person or organization to put their resources at the disposal of the community, with competitive and flexible conditions. And the current offer goes far beyond cars, houses or rooms.
In the urbanized cities, this reality has been growing by leaps and bounds. In addition to carsharing, the most diverse means of transport are already shared, such as bicycles, scooters, etc. The coworking spaces have also grown dramatically, a trend that is in line with the growth of independent workers, who do not need fixed spaces. Fablabs and shared kitchens are also good examples of the application of this model.
There are platforms that allow people to rent the most varied equipment, ranging from guitars, DJ turntables, drills, professional cameras, among many others, with the rental being protected by insurance that safeguards both parties in case something happens. For companies and businesses, there are also platforms that allow people or companies to share spaces that are free or have little use, including meeting rooms, training rooms, work desks, spaces for events, garages, warehouses, etc.
People and companies are looking for flexible, ready-to-use solutions that suit their needs.
The options are endless and the possibilities are almost limitless. More and more, people and companies are looking for flexible, ready-to-use solutions that suit their needs and the solutions presented by the sharing economy ensure all of these points, with the advantage of still being available at very competitive prices. It is also a very attractive economical option because with shared use the profits can go well above the price of the good itself. If I sell music equipment, the billing is limited to the selling price, while if I rent the equipment to several people, my billing can exceed the price that the market is willing to pay.
Sharing Economy is one of the business models that enhance the transition to Circular Economy, as in this model the usefulness of products is boosted, as they are shared by a community. Additionally, contrary to what happens with traditional models, in the Sharing Economy, features such as quality, durability, easy maintenance and repair become a competitive advantage for the business.
The application of this type of concepts is more suitable for products with considerable durability and that can be used by several people, such as transport vehicles, real estate, equipment, machines, tools, decorative pieces, furniture, clothes, etc. Does your company or business idea sell or intend to sell any product that fits this strand? If so, consider the following questions:
🍀How can this model help with my business or company idea?
🍀How many times a year do my customers use my products?
🍀How often do I need to replace them?
🍀If instead of buying the product the customer had the option of renting it, what advantages would it have?
🍀Who would my company benefit from this model/approach?
🍀Is there a possibility for my client to lend my product to a family member or friend?
🍀How often does this happen?
🍀If I rented my products, how could I ensure that they can be repaired or modernized?
Even if your company does not have any product that fits this strand, you can always think of opportunities that exist in your activity area. There is always an opportunity to find a way to expand your business by implementing this model.
Naturally, in order to guarantee a reduction in the environmental footprint, there are other challenges that must be considered when implementing a new model inserted in the Sharing Economy. The existence of multiple users, almost always leads to faster degradation of materials, so ways must be devised to ensure their maintenance or repair in order to extend their life cycle.
Additionally, in order to keep up with market trends and developments, the design must be thought of in order to ensure an easy and quick modernization, guaranteeing the maximum use of the components and reducing the need to acquire new raw materials. For a holistic view of the innovation process, it is always advisable to involve and collect feedback from the largest number of people, such as employees, customers, suppliers and partners. This way it is easier to foresee potential risks and act in order to mitigate them.
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Author: Mariana Pinto e Costa (BeeCircular’s Co-founder)
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