7 Things Marketers Can Learn From the Sharing Economy

By on January 31, 2018

The sharing economy is big news. It’s estimated that the industry will be worth $335 billion by 2035. And even back in 2016, there were 44.8 billion Americans using sharing economy services. Part of the industry’s success can be attributed to smart marketing techniques. It’s also down to a deep understanding of what today’s customer wants from their consumer experience.

Whether your company operates within the sharing economy or not, there are lessons to be gained from examining the industry’s success. These lessons can then be incorporated into your own marketing strategies to better engage audiences and drive sales.

Here are seven things marketers can learn from the sharing economy:

Trust is Everything
The sharing economy is built on trust between buyers and suppliers. Customer reviews are a huge part of the customer experience. They help people to make purchasing decisions with confidence. Marketers should weave reviews and peer recommendations into their websites and marketing strategies to achieve a similar result.

One of the strengths of the sharing economy is the links it fosters between a company and its customers. Starbucks took heed of this trend when it ran a campaign asking customers to nominate a new coffee. All companies have the potential to harness their customer engagement and drive further engagement and innovation through co-creation.

Integrate Social
The sharing economy understands the power of social and has integrated it seamlessly into its user experience. Customers are able to use social media to advocate for the brand. They can report on their own brand experiences to engage others. Bigger industry influencers have also been brought on board to spread the message further.

Build a Great Website
Part of the sharing economy’s success can be put down to some pretty excellent website design. These are sites that look great on any device. And that offer a top rate user experience. Maps, reviews, essential information – everything is readily available. Customers are getting used to this kind of functionality so make sure your website follows suit.

Adapting Internationally
This is something Airbnb has done to great effect. Every international site is localised. The website is available in 26 different languages, all with constantly updated content. Both websites and marketing campaigns have been adapted to have a local feel, one that appeals to each and every customer around the world. It seems one size doesn’t fit all and marketers should aim to offer locally optimised options wherever possible.

Customers Like Dealing with Real People
A faceless brand won’t cut it in today’s world. Customers want immediacy and personalisation – they chat with their taxi driver through Uber or make arrangements with a local handyman through TaskRabbit. They don’t want to feel like a number. And they don’t want to feel that they’re engaging with a computer rather than a human being. Your marketing materials but also your customer service should adapt accordingly.

Customers Like an Authentic Experience
Gone are the days of stock images. Customers want a real representation of what they’re buying into. Think Airbnb accommodation photos or images of storage facilities on Spacer. It’s all about what’s real. Marketers can take a leaf out of the sharing economy’s book by ditching any slick, marketing materials. Whilst you want to paint your brand and your products in a good light, try to be authentic too.

The sharing economy goes from strength to strength. And it’s perfectly possible to adopt its successful marketing and user experience strategies, even for a non-sharing economy company. It’s all about being authentic, great usability and integrating customers into your brand.

About Emma Lewis

Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.

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