The buzzwords like Uber, Airbnb, Lyft or Ola are familiar to almost everybody. Thousands of people use mobile applications and web portals of these companies. One can fall under a deceptive impression that the only thing necessary to succeed in peer-to-peer (P2P) economy is quality software or even copying somebody else’s proven app. IT specialists complain they often have to deal with clients’ desire to ride on the success of popular brands, e.g., creating a mobile app like Uber. It’s a common mistake that investors should be aware of. Very few people realize, most of the P2P companies are first of all mature offline businesses that managed to create brilliant applications. A high-quality mobile app earns a lot of money for its owners but is not the root cause of commercial success. What exactly has brought companies like Airbnb or Ola to the top?
It is a backbone of any sharing economy business model. A marketplace attracts entrepreneurs because it assists with client search, leads processing, loyalty systems, legal issues and payment options. A marketplace is a complex e-commerce platform embedding the following modules:
- Omni-channel commerce
- Banking, payments, refunds
- User’s agreements and legislation issues
- Executor’s portal
- Educational materials
- Editors, Communication, and Support portals
Technical features of web services and apps are important, but a software application development company and investors should also pay a lot of attention to market requirements and choose an appropriate business model.
Customers Portal and Applications
This ingredient of the P2P business ensures smooth user experience and helps communicate with customers. Create one of the best applications in a field and reinforce it with perfect services, impeccable support, and competitive prices. To have the maximum audience outreach, your sharing economy software should cover all the popular platforms (iOS, Android, OS X, Windows or Linux). Your company’s well-being fully depends on the users of your app. P2P software providers are challenged to create a solution able to stand out in a competitive market.
Sharing economy solutions are global scale by nature. They are able to reach the target audience. A large number of users generates a lot of statistics and analytical data. You have to take care of the following aspects:
- System for analytical data generation and aggregation
- Analytical tools for managing statistics
- Report system
Your system should be ready to aggregate a bulk of analytical data. How to use these data is a strategic objective of your investors. You should remember about this challenge from the first days after launching services.
Tips to succeed in sharing economy
1.The legislation and tax issues. Keep your startup on the light side. The rapid success of the sharing economy pioneers called the attention of the world state agencies. Every new profitable startup is often of interest to regulatory and tax authorities.
2.Choose the appropriate business model. The history of the economy has already seen enough examples of unsuccessful pear-to-pear startups. The reason causing such failures is simple: those businesses didn’t fit in the P2P economy concept. Take a look at the signs showing that your company falls under the sharing economy ideas:
- Lack of trust between small businesses and customers in case of one-time services.
- Short-term relationships between small businesses and customers, and no opportunity to cooperate beyond a P2P marketplace.
- Businesses offering low-skilled jobs and facing tough competition in the market.
3. Payment gateway. No matter what business model you choose for your solution, you need a secure payment system. The payment service should be hosted locally in every country where you launch your project. In this case, easy payments processing will prevent you from losing customers just because they can’t make payments to foreign companies.
4.Customer support. Take care of your customers, as they are the foremost priority of your company. There are human beings on both sides of the business workflow – consumers and your business partners (hosts and guests like in Airbnb, drivers and passengers like in Uber, etc.). All of them care for high-quality service on your part. Professional customer support and consulting services create the image of your company.
5.Mature marketing and promotion. Keep in mind that you’ll have to compete with traditional and well-established business models. Great efforts should be made to convince customers to start using something innovative. Therefore, be ready for a big investment in marketing strategy and the promotion of your concept.
6.Maximum automation. Your project’s success depends on the number of users you manage to attract. It means you’ll have quite high variable and unit costs. Therefore, all your business processes should be automated as much as possible to minimize expenses. Business intelligence solutions are able to assist you here.
7.Community and ecosystem development. That’s what should distinguish your business model from the rest. Sharing economy startups are driven by real people, and you should take care of being with them on the same page.
There is no universal formula of how to succeed in sharing economy. Software is important, but you should keep mind it just serves and complements a rolling business concept. To accomplish excellent results, you should pick the appropriate business model first and then think about developing a software solution. Professional custom applications developers and business analysts are able to ensure the creation of an app that perfectly fits your business concept.
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Gurupriyan is a Software Engineer and a technology enthusiast, he’s been working on the field for the last 6 years. Currently focusing on mobile app development and IoT.