The on-demand economy is changing business as we know it by forcing us to redefine the employee/employer relationship and giving consumers a taste of ultra-personalized service without the concierge level price tag. Although one could argue that the on-demand economy hasn’t really changed business or consumers, it’s simply the product of an evolution in the consumer and executive mindsets that has been well underway since the 90s – maybe even earlier.
Regardless of our viewpoint – whether we think the chicken or egg came first – the on-demand economy has played a major role in the recent evolution of business practices. For the sake of this article, we’re going work on the assumption that the on-demand economy is inciting the change. Now, let’s dig in and examine a few of the ways the on-demand economy is changing business as we know it.
The on-demand economy is…
Saving small business
This one may seem counterintuitive, but when done right the on-demand economy can be used to save small business. Not by competing with larger companies, but by working with them to deliver a more streamlined service.
One example of the on-demand model being applied to small businesses is Rinse(formerly Washio). Rinse is an on-demand laundering and dry-cleaning service. The thing is, Rinse doesn’t actually own a single laundromat. Instead, they provide the platform for consumers to schedule their service and connect them with small businesses that service their area.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about…
Connecting non-competitive businesses
Consumers want a streamlined experience. This is nothing new, it’s the sole driving force behind travel agencies. People don’t want to book a flight here, a car rental there, and their hotel room somewhere else, they’d like to get it all in one place if at all possible.
One example of an on-demand service that connects non-competitive businesses is Zomato. Consider them the travel agency of the restaurant industry. Zomato offers reviews of and bookings at restaurants across the globe. They take their service one step further by connecting with Google Maps and Uber to show you the exact route to your restaurant and help you book transportation to and from.
Yes, the on-demand economy creates a lot of disruption – some would say that’s what it’s all about. However, the on-demand model can be used to bring businesses together while simultaneously improving the customer experience.
Inspiring entrepreneurship… but at what cost?
One of the largest impacts on the American workforce that can be attributed to the on-demand economy is a rise in entrepreneurship and a blurring of the lines between employee and contract worker. – which admittedly has been something of a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, the American dream was built on the entrepreneurial spirit. Work hard, save up, play your cards right and eventually you’ll get to be your own boss. On the other hand, it seems the modern contract worker or on-demand employee carries much of the burden of your average employee without receiving the same benefits and protections. You feel like your own boss, but are you really?
Either way, the on-demand economy is driving the gig economy – some would even argue they’re one in the same – and forcing us to reevaluate what we consider to be an employee.
Bolstering the ultra-personalized economy
Consumers have always appreciated personalized service. Unfortunately, in the past personalized service often came with a hefty price tag. The on-demand economy is changing that. Consumers are growing to expect personalized service from every business they interact with.
Thankfully, advances in big data analytics and CSR tech are making it easier than ever before for companies of all size to deliver that level of service.
As you can see, the on-demand economy has brought with it many changes – whether it caused them or not. However, one of the major changes economists are focusing on in the years to come isn’t disruption caused by the on-demand economy, it’s a disruption coming to the on-demand model itself, the days of the “Uber of X” hype are rightfully coming to a close. But, we’ll save that for another article…