The birth of the B2B sharing economy

The birth of the B2B sharing economy

Peer-to-peer enterprise exchange - The birth of the B2B sharing economy

The fast-growing world of monetizing underused assets

It goes by many names: the “sharing economy,” the “gig economy,” the “on-demand economy.” It has grown from almost nothing to a pool of global businesses valued in the billions of dollars. The concept – people using technology to find and purchase one another’s extra resources – represents a triumph of trust and crowdsourcing.

Peer-to-peer financial firms such as Lending Club, transportation services such as Uber, and lodging brokerages such as Airbnb have all rapidly taken off, using Internet-based platforms to connect people directly without highly paid intermediaries.

These examples are largely related to B2C opportunities. But the real power of peer-to-peer enterprise exchange may be found in B2B transactions. It probably presents a larger opportunity than consumer sharing. It is the open sharing of resources among businesses: peer-to-peer enterprise exchange.

Peer-to-peer enterprise exchange – The birth of the B2B sharing economy

Though peer-to-peer marketplaces dominate the current sharing economy, the number of B2B sharing companies is growing steadily and will only continue to increase.

The world of shipping and cargo is ripe with opportunities for B2B sharing. Cargomatic, Convoy, ShipHawk and uShip, all service customers with less-than-truckload-sized hauling needs. They all uses technology to unlock under-utilized capacity.

For truck drivers, who often haul empty trucks for hundreds of miles en route to their next pickup, it creates new revenue opportunities. For shippers, it can mean lower rates on big shipments, particularly at the last minute.

And then there are the environmental benefits of fewer empty trucks on the road. All through an app.

Beyond shipping are seemingly endless opportunities in other facets of business operations. Companies are providing services to share unused office space (LiquidSpace, WeWork, PivotDesk), farm machinery (FarmLink), warehouse space (Flexe), business equipment and services (Floow2) and retail spaces available for pop-up shops (Storefront).

Yard Club provides a way for construction companies to share their equipment by renting it out when not in use by their own companies.

These companies and many others stand to disrupt how companies think about sales channels, supply chains, where to make things, how to make them – and whether to make them at all.

What makes them au courant are their digital platforms – the ability to use mobile apps – or web browsers – to order up exactly what you need quickly, affordably and with minimal effort – frictionless commerce, in the argot of digital commerce. Eliminating human intermediaries – salespeople, brokers and others – also makes such transactions simple, compelling and less expensive.

Fast-growing B2B sharing economy

Will the B2B sharing economy be revolutionizing B2B? Will it be “bigger than the Internet” in terms of transforming how commerce gets done? Time will show.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

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