3 key success factors for sharing platforms
We’ve taken points from Rachel Botsman’s book What’s Mine is Yours and articles from Fast Company and Shareable to consolidate what we believe to be the most important factors for a successful sharing platform:
We believe that 1 is the most important, as a platform may have a great reputation system and lots of interested people, but if it’s not solving a problem that people are willing to pay for, it won’t succeed. See Adam Berk’s article on this for more insights. 2 and 3 kind of come as a package, as they both facilitate a well-developed system of getting what you need from people you can trust. Let us know your thoughts and other factors we may have missed.
- Value for the user | The user has to derive value from the platform and be willing to pay for the service. The platform should provide a practical and convenient solution for a reasonable price. On the other side of this, for platforms that allow users to make profit off their assets, the profit must outweigh the effort involved. As well, the items most worth sharing have lots of idling capacity, as the ownership of a product that is used for a just a few minutes makes little rational sense.
- Trust between strangers | An environment that facilitates reputation-building allows for trust to be developed between strangers, an important buy-in when getting new users to use the platform. This also helps to build “belief in the commons,” aka a communal give-and-take where every person’s participation creates value for another. Finally, the best platforms feel more like a community than simply a marketplace.
- Critical mass | There must be variety in selection and easy accessibility, providing the user with enough choice so that he/she is satisfied with what’s available. This is specially important for P2P marketplaces to ensure that users are able to find what they need. To reach this tipping point, marketing to the right channels, word of mouth and community advocates/leaders can help substantially. Critical mass also helps in getting potential users to make the switch over from shopping to sharing.