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Buyer, seller, and controller: The on-demand economy

Tommy McCubbin
Industry Expert

Tommy McCubbin is an advertising veteran, creative director and creator of Futuresandwich.com

Tommy McCubbin
Industry Expert

Tommy McCubbin is an advertising veteran, creative director and creator of Futuresandwich.com

The on-demand economy is turning the world into the consumer’s oyster. So how can your business benefit?

Things work differently in New York. In New York, you walk faster, and if you’re a slow tourist, you will be told to speed up. After a while in New York, you start tolerating rats. The volume of your shriek dissipates as you get use to them scurrying past your ankles. And in New York, everything is delivered. Absolutely anything can be ordered. Someone will be buzzing your apartment in minutes.

My sister is a New Yorker, and every time I visit her, I’m amazed at how much of her life is outsourced to a guy on a bike. Laundry, groceries, booze, drivers, the dog walker, her Christmas tree… and even The Glam Squad - hair and makeup to your door that will get you ready before a night out.

The on-demand economy has thrived in New York City, because New York has a key ingredient that made it possible. The density of the population is the key to creating the supply and “on-demand demand”.

But density of population isn’t necessarily important anymore for the on-demand economy to thrive. Technology has been the catalyst in supercharging the global growth of getting stuff delivered to your door, immediately. 

A taxi driving through the rain in New York

The buyer, seller and connector

There are three types of people that drive the on-demand economy; the buyer, the seller and the connector. All three groups are connected by mobile apps that have cut out the need for a call centre. Intermediation replaces the human ‘middle-man’ with a robot.

Let’s take the poster child of the on-demand economy, Uber. The last market cap came in over $60 billion, and continues to soar. The kicker is that Uber don’t own a single car, or employ a single driver. They are a technology company. The app is their product.

To order a car, all the buyer needs to do is open Uber’s app, and tap. They meet and track the driver to their location, and even send their friends an ETA.

In the case of Uber, the supplier and the connector are the same thing - the driver. One of the key things that Uber (and every other technology fuelling the on-demand boom) is doing is activating drivers and vehicles.

And the critical mass Uber has achieved means that there’s no administrative bottleneck in connecting customers and drivers. It all happens instantly. Even the process of becoming a driver has been stripped back to something you can do easily, with just a car and some background checks.

Making the most of the on-demand economy

So, how can you access the revenue-in-waiting within the On-Demand Economy?

There are a few boxes you need to tick. The first is an operational one. Have a look at your product or service, and if it can be organised and shipped in minutes - you’re looking good.

The next is proving there is an appetite for your product or service on-demand. This can be tested really easily. You can survey some customers, or even do a small trial.

Finding and using a connector is simple and you have a range to choose from.

Sherpa, Meemeep and AirTasker are a few platforms that can pick nearly anything up, and deliver it nearly anywhere, in Australia.

If the test results prove you can facilitate a demand for your product or service on-demand, now it’s just a matter of scale. And how much did that cost? A bit of time maybe, but you didn’t need to write a single line of code.

Everything you need to capitalise on the on-demand boom is ready and waiting and – a lot of the time – free. The on-demand economy’s entire success is because the whole ecosystem has been designed to be plug-and-play.

So now we have intermediating technology and a fleet of connectors, and the whole world is starting to work like Lower-Manhattan. You and your business can move as fast as a New Yorker thanks to the on-demand economy. 

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