“Either you're in the sharing economy - or you're competing with it.”
That is the reality facing many businesses in a market that has gone crazy for the sharing or peer-to-peer business model, according to the lead educators of RMIT’s free online course Business Futures: The Sharing Economy starting on Monday 6 March.
Marketing Lecturer Dr Samuelson Appau and Marketing Senior Lecturer Dr Bernardo Figueiredo hope to make businesses aware of the challenges and opportunities involved with this growing trend, which is built around using digital technologies to enable people to share and monetise their assets and resources.
“You can really grow very fast with these [sharing] businesses and they normally do not demand so much initial investment,” Figueiredo said.
According to Appau, businesses collaborating with consumers to co-create value have shown to be crucial to their success.
“Not all businesses may find the sharing economy relevant, but it will be prudent for a business to consider if all or parts of its processes could be altered to be more collaborative,” Appau said.
Companies such as Uber and Airbnb have put the sharing business model on the map. Their disruption of the transportation and accommodation sectors has been well documented, but the experts say no sector is out of reach.
“Airbnb is only nine years’ old, but its value is estimated at $30 billion, almost $7 billion more than the 97-year-old Hilton chain of hotels. To say this is surprising is an understatement,” Appau said.
“I think all sectors that deal in non-perishable goods and services, both at the business-to-business and business-to-consumer level are vulnerable to the growth of the sharing economy.”
Both lead educators on the massive open online course (MOOC) in March predict the sharing economy will grow significantly in the next decade, particularly in Australia.
Appau says Australia’s reception of the sharing economy even rivals that of America. In some cases the demand outstrips supply.
“Even the taxi driver protests against Uber should signal to you the impact it is having in Australia,” he said.
“I recently had a conversation with an Uber driver who makes more than I make as a university lecturer – I am rethinking my career options now.”
How can your business adapt to the sharing economy? RMIT’s free online course Business Futures: The Sharing Economy starts on Monday 6 March.
This course will:
- introduce you to the development of the sharing economy
- examine its impact on economies, businesses and consumers
- explore the growth of the sharing economy in many industry sectors
- highlight the challenges and opportunities
- provide a range of options for innovative consumer experiences
Learn about emerging business trends – this course is one of three in the Business Futures series from RMIT hosted through FutureLearn. In every course, you will be guided by academics from the College of Business. Plus you’ll hear from successful online entrepreneurs about how they’re adapting to these trends.
Story: John Fergusson