Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

27

Aug

Consumption and the Growing Importance of Shared Value

image

Over the past decade, brands have made a shift to balance profitability goals with having a mindful purpose. A study by the University of Iowa found a direct correlation exists between brands with extensive corporate social responsibility and lower stock risk during down economic cycles. This brand loyalty is particularly found with brands that support environmental issues.

As millennials account for the over 95 million digitally connected Americans, they also possess a keen desire or ‘socially conscious’ to make a difference. Recently a growing number of studies have reported on the strong desire of millennials to embrace brands that support a cause they hold dear. Some studies have even labeled millennials the most aspirational generation.

A recent Nielsen survey found that 42% of 18- to 34-year-old millennials believe a response following a posting a complaint or comment regarding a brand should be received on social media within 12 hours. While millennials may not have the cash flow of older customers, brands have realized the possible consequences a negative comment could have on their brand image and sales and have taken greater steps to please millennials and to intercept their complaints prior to becoming viral.

This new shift in conscience capitalism is evident not only in what we purchase, but also how we cater to our customers. As is evident by the U.S. auto industry bailout in 2008 as GM, Chrysler and Ford were trying to avoid financial disaster. Feeling the effects of the financial collapse and burdened by gasoline prices hovering near $4 a gallon, consumers were ready for new solutions. Yet these industry giants lacked innovation and failed to listen to their customers as they continued on the path of business as usual.

During this time, Elon Musk, TESLA Motors CEO and Chairman, was on a mission to replace fossil fuels by changing the world by offering clean and renewable energy sources and reintroducing the electric vehicle. The EV1, sold during the late -1990’s to 2002 was not as fortunate as evidenced in the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?. When you contemplate the fact that more solar energy strikes the surface of the earth in a single hour than is provided by all the fossil energy consumed globally in a year, then the answer seems obvious. Now fast forward from the 1990’s and in a little over a decade, innovation may win this time around, and older brands may start offering the solutions that consumers are demanding rather than remaining on a path of resistance.

Public relations firm, Edelman conducted a global survey in 2012 and found that 72% of consumers responded they would recommend brands to others if they supported a good cause. Given this strong statistic, marketers should be keen to ignite corporations to evolve the various ways they envision, produce and market their products. The main selling point being, if they don’t, they will fall by the wayside.

By Tamar Burton

Pin It

23

Jul

Trust in P2P Transactions

Trust is the foundation of all economic transactions, in the real world and on the Web. The crucial difference between the two is that in the real world, we have ways of judging whether our counterpart is trustworthy, whereas on the Web, we usually transact with people we have never met. Especially in the growing sector of peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms, users share very valuable assets such as houses and cars, exposing them to higher risk than in classic e-commerce. According to a recent study by Campbell Mithun, trust concerns are the number one barrier to sharing on collaborative consumption platforms. This indicates that as the sharing economy grows, a foundation of trust between users is necessary to lower their perceived risk of participating in P2P marketplaces. 

I investigated this topic further in my bachelor thesis titled Building Trust in P2P Marketplaces: an Empirical Analysis of Trust Systems for the Sharing Economy. I received many interesting insights by interviewing people from across the globe such as researchers, social innovators, P2P platforms as well as startups attempting to create online trust systems. 

A number of tools that help users judge each other’s trustworthiness online already exists. Five-star rating systems as popularized by eBay are a very common type of feedback system. These ratings are often accompanied by user comments and reviews to provide descriptive information about a transaction. On platforms such as Taskrabbit, identity verification by phone and email as well as background checks are tools used to ensure safety. Further tools that verify identities and let users tap into their existing social networks when joining a new site are social media connect buttons (for example Facebook Connect). Several startups such as TrustCloud, Briiefly, Legit and PeerTrust are attempting to merge these tools into one trust system that allows users to take their online reputation with them wherever they go. 

Apart from these tools my findings suggest that online communities can also foster trust. According to an interviewee, tight-knit communities of people with similar interests, tastes and values can function as a type of trust system. This is the case at the German ridesharing company Carpooling.com, where most users have in common that they are current or former students. 


Guest Blogger: Francesca Pick 

Francesca studied Communication and Cultural Management at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. To read more of her research, please visit the full thesis.



(Source: tradepal.com)

Pin It

06

Jun

The Power Of Now

(Source: mbartstudios.com)

Pin It

13

Apr

Online Marketplace Comparison: eBay Vs. Craigslist Vs. Tradepal

While relocating can be a chore, offering items no longer needed can be fun and rewarding when you know you helped someone. I recently completed the slow and tedious process of selling and giving away household items. One of the larger items I decided to sell was my car which I listed on eBay, Craigslist and Tradepal.  

The process of creating an online vehicle listing was a first, so I followed my checklist to make sure I had everything covered. I reviewed various websites to view how many cars of the same model were being offered and also searched car pricing guides such as the Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds. I also spoke to my car dealer to review the title transfer process and any hidden fees associated. Lastly, I took a bunch of pictures of my vehicle using my smartphone and prepared to create the three listings. 

The process went as follows:

eBay

Time Elapsed: 40 minutes to list item with images

Cost: Free for my local neighborhood, additional fees would apply for a national listing.

Results: My Kia listing was removed by eBay and, to my surprise, I received an email notification that I had violated their terms of use. See email below. 


After reviewing the information, and feeling quite perplexed that I violated something, I contacted eBay. I explained the problem to one of their representatives which was followed by a short hold then a series of personal questions that were intended to verify my identity. The monotone agent seemed familiar with my issue as she went through the routine of troubleshooting my problem. 

While still confused I confirmed my education level, where I have worked, and what certifications I have. Finally, I was directed to log back into the eBay website to relist my vehicle. Needless to say, I was a bit aggravated having spent over an hour listing, responding to a delisting email, speaking with two representatives and taking a test to ultimately confirm my identity in order to list my own car for sale. I inquired as to what I actually violated by my vehicle listing, and received a vague explanation that it was because I was a new user. A new user? While not feeling very welcome, I proceeded to relist my vehicle as I had so much time invested at this juncture. 

Auto reinstatement email:

Craigslist

Time Elapsed:  Approximately 10 minutes to list an item with one image. 

Cost: Free 

Results: Followed their standard email verification process as shown below. I was approved to go live and received about six inquiries on the vehicle. The details that follow explain the care needed when using this service as is evident in the initial verification email below that follows each listing request.

Unfortunately, one of the inquiries I received three days later was from Root Ninja although it stated Kamari True as the contact name. UnknowingIy I was being lured, and I almost clicked the link provided which could have been disastrous had I not realized it in time.  

Following a search using the sentence in the email, it was evident that I had been sent a malicious email from Root Ninja which was identified as follows: 

http://www.rootninja.com/obvious-craigslist-scammer/

In addition, I felt uneasy about providing my location and my cell phone number to prospective anonymous buyers who emailed me.


Tradepal 

Time Elapsed:  Four minutes to list including four images of the vehicle.

Cost: Free to list and share with no geographical restrictions.

Results: I shared the listing with my Tradepal and Facebook friends, and Twitter followers. Within the first ten minutes, I garnered over 100 views. Within the next 24 hours, the listing had generated over 400 views.

As the head of brand development at tradepal, I tend to think I am biased. But this experience is a reminder of the real pain encountered by the general public while using online marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist. At tradepal, we are striving to solve these exact problems. Users should be able to list, share and promote their items quickly and for free. Most importantly, they should be able to communicate and trade with peers in confidence. 

Pin It

29

Feb

7 Ways to Take Your Leap Day into the Sharing Economy

On February 29th we celebrate a once-every-four-year event as we get an extra day added to our 365 day calendar year. In honor of Leap Day, why not celebrate this ‘extra day’ by taking a leap into collaborative consumption and adopting a new way to help others, help the environment or just help ourselves?
 
If you are planning to attend SxSW, then you may already be using a peer-to-peer service like Airbnb, Zipcar, or carpooling to the many events? If so, then you are part of what everyone is talking about. Just two years ago it was viewed as a thing of the future, but collaborative consumption has bypassed its trendy status and has become mainstream.

If you aren’t heading to Austin, Texas, then here are some ways to take a leap and participate:

  1. Do you listen to music online? If you use Spotify and share it with your friends on Facebook, you are driving collaboration as you help others to discover new music.
  2. Have you borrowed a ladder, drill or other tools from a neighbor?  This is also driving the collaborative consumption movement and includes such websites as NeighborGoods to connect people who share.
  3. Feeling charitable? How about helping to fight poverty by providing as little as a $25 microloan through Kiva? You could help a farmer in Nicaragua buy fertilizer and supplies for his crops.
  4. Doing some spring cleaning or planning on moving? Try the latest peer-to-peer marketplace, Tradepal and list some items to giveaway, sell or even barter for something else.
  5. Concerned about the environment? Then join a local bicycle sharing program and start reducing your carbon footprint.
  6. Want to brush up on some skills?  Locate a Skillshare in your community to attend free workshops offered by your neighbors, or maybe offer to train others.
  7. Interested in purchasing organic and high quality food? Support your local farmers and farmers markets while encouraging sustainable agriculture practices that enhance our environment. 

While I narrowed the list to only a weeks worth of options, I could have listed many more. With 1,460 days until the arrival of the next Leap Year in 2016, imagine how our communities would benefit if we made collaborative consumption a habit for the next four years. 

Pin It

19

Feb

From Sharing Economy to Sheconomy: The Evolution of Women and their Sphere of Influence

In its’ fourth installment of Women, Power & Money, Fleishman-Hillard and Hearst Magazines have released their survey which highlights the American woman’s “sphere of influence”. The latest study revealed many of the newly adopted traits of women consumers, their new consumer mindsets and redefined shopping habits. 

Women in the digital age continue to evolve following the adoption of mobile technology, social networks, and the increase in marketing messages. With an ever expanding social circle of virtual friends, family and social groups, her sphere of influence has amplified beyond her home, career or family to a media channel as the receiver, influencer and broadcaster of information in the marketplace.  

Women are interested in expressing their ideas and also discovering from these shared experiences. This is evidenced in the sudden growth of the social photo sharing website, Pinterest and the growing focus on collaborative consumption services like Ridejoy, Vayable, Tradepal, Taskrabbit and Airbnb. 

Technology is enabling trust between strangers on a scale that goes beyond what was imagined through bartering, sharing and trading. This was noted in the study as from the years 2008 to 2011, there was an increase from 31% to 50% in women surveyed who claimed they regularly influence friends and family on purchasing decisions. 

What this means for brands is rather than narrowing their message, they must adapt to target a varied constituency of American women who view themselves as successful and seriously assert their role as decision-maker. Woman have shifted their purchasing criteria toward the practical, value-oriented with a greater desire for substance over sizzle. 

As peer-based influence continues to grow, the issue of how we can better manage our consumption will continue to evolve. The area of collaborative consumption is now hitting the mainstream media as prosumers continue to look for better ways to consume and not go back to their prior habits.  

Pin It

14

Feb

The Third Wave of the Internet Powered by the Sharing Economy

This past January, Brian Chesky Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb presented his views on the sharing economy and his future vision for Airbnb during his keynote at DLD 2012 in Munich. A native New Yorker, he gave many comparisons of peoples’ natural tendency to share. Dating as far back as 45,000 years ago, people were ‘hardwired to share’ and this was how tribes survived, according to Chesky. 

"Before World War II, people shared. Following that timeframe, Americans were told to spend and to help stimulate the economy…and eventually people stopped sharing. Over the last 50 years we have consumed more than in the entire human history before that period."

Now 60 years in the future, the ‘new’ movement is coined the sharing economy. In his keynote, Brian Chesky states, “the average person uses one-third of every paycheck to cover their housing, and another $8,000 annually for car expenses”. 

The sharing economy enables people to make extra money with the assets they aren’t using. Chesky asserts that in 1995, the first wave of the Internet brought consumers online while the second wave connected them together through social networks. He refers to the new wave, the ‘third wave of the Internet’ as the convergence of online with the offline world; people become more social and share offline experiences.

Examples found in the sharing economy: 

Space Share - Airbnb, Loosecubes, Coworking spaces

Car Share - RelayRides, Zipcar, Getaround

Task Share - Taskrabbit

Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces - Farmers Markets, Tradepal, ThredUP

Experience Share - GuideHop

In view of the revitalization of sharing, Chesky stated,

"We used to try to keep up with the Jones’ and now we are sharing with the Jones’." 

Chesky shared his company’s vision to stimulate local businesses by enabling access to spaces. He hopes Airbnb will be the “protagonist” in helping expand the sharing economy by allowing people to ultimately gain access to any city, and be able to share any asset, any space within the next two years.

In contrast to the green movement of the early 2000s, the sharing economy is not evangelizing that we must sacrifice in order to save the world, but Chesky suggests, 

"What if it was actually better for us. We could save more money, have a more social life, share more and make the environment better."

In closing, Chesky asserted that with a broader currency of trust, where we all have online reputations, we all could have access to more. In 2011, 5 million nights were booked on Airbnb. Access is more powerful than ownership. 

(Source: tradepal.com)

Pin It

01

Feb

Five Ways Smartphone Growth Will Fuel Collaborative Consumption

While smartphones increase our ability to influence people, places and things through peer-to-peer sharing and location-based services, these devices are also helping to fuel collaborative consumption in many ways:



  1. Immediacy: Smartphones facilitate instant communication when it comes down to peer-to-peer transactions
  2. Trust: Matching mobile phone numbers helps authenticate peers
  3. Payments: Mobile payments fuels the growth of peer-to-peer commerce
  4. Reputation: Smartphones increase the use of social networks which in turn increase the social clout of more peers
  5. Network effects: More people connected on mobile networks increases the adoption and the use of peer-to-peer services



In 2011 smartphone technology led the way toward fueling the growth of mCommerce as users opted for more advanced devices. According to the latest release from the International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2015 more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs.





Car-sharing “Zipcar” Leveraging Mobile Internet

(Source: tradepal.com)

Pin It

24

Jan

Introducing The New Consumer

The New Consumer is seeking to gain a sense of fulfillment by simplifying their lives and taking a holistic approach about their consumption habits.  In 2010, Andrew Benett and Anne O’Reilly launched a study highlighting the permanent shift in peoples’ perceptions about themselves as consumers. According to Euro RSCG’s New Consumer global survey, consumers are embarking on a re-discovery of the basic ideals that were the building blocks of society. As a matter of fact, 70% of the respondents surveyed admire people who live simply, while 71% were actively trying to improve who they are as individuals.

It appears that the New Consumer is focused on limiting their environmental impact while reducing their spending. Indeed, 64% of respondents feel good when making environmentally friendly consumption choices and 70% feel great about saving money. The undeniable trend is that the new consumer is rejecting hyper-consumption in preference for more sustainable alternatives.

One encouraging statistic in this survey is 48% of respondents have stated that they will not revert back to their old consumption habits - even after the economy rebounds. This proves a permanent state of change has occurred in the mind of the New Consumer. 

The New Consumer has made a conscious effort to shift priorities and revolves most decisions around their communities. They want to better themselves, their families and their future. 

Will collaborative consumption become the economic model of the New Consumer as they transform the way they shop and spend? Will they adopt the latest trends in transportation (sharing and renting car and bikes), accommodation (peer-to-peer short term rentals), travel (car pooling), space (workspace, storage, and parking sharing), neighborhoods (tool rental, swaps, garage sales) and work (workspace sharing, part-time tasking)? 



To review the survey, visit Euro RSCG’s New Consumer

TRADING ON TRADEPAL:

SENDING A TRADE OFFER ON TRADEPAL:

Pin It

09

Jan

Trendsetting Women Leading Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

When it comes to purchases, consumers vote with their pocketbooks. When it comes to “stuff”, a shift is underway as women are making wiser purchases while taking the lead in how to part with what they no longer need. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill stuff as these savvy shoppers have their eye on items that will hold their value in the resale market. Following the emergence of the Mommy-blogger and Mom-preneur, the latest consumer trend is women whose purchases include a preplanned exit strategy — the future resale of the item. These shoppers will either utilize a peer-to-peer marketplace or do a swap, depending on the item.

A study conducted by Women at NBCU points out the growing trend of women who view themselves as more than just consumers, they consider themselves to be curators, collectors and even experts. Here are some key insights:

  • Two-thirds prefer to spend $100 to get a resale of $35 rather than $5o with no resale value
  • 76% are presently buying and selling via peer-to-peer marketplaces
  • 60% were interested in selling on their Facebook page 
  • 77% would write about a product in exchange for a discount

The study also stated that as many as 89% of those surveyed prefer to own and then resell items rather than to rent or lease. Additionally, almost a quarter of those surveyed believe that within the next 10 years, the majority of purchases will be peer-to-peer transactions. These curators know their way around the marketplace and also know quality items and powerful brand names are key in the resale marketplaces.

    

Pin It

31

Dec

Happy New Year To Our Beloved Pals

Happy New Year To Our Beloved Pals

Pin It

22

Dec

Reduce, Reuse, Re-Gift in the Holiday Spirit

Did you miss National Regifting Day last week?

Ah, yes it really does exist… While regifting has been growing trend as many Americans felt their wallets tighten due to the slowing of the economy or job changes, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The pressure to finalize holiday purchases is growing and each day we read about the challenges that plague Americans such as a recent article that mentioned, “50% of Americans not able to shop for the holidays this year as they could not afford it…” This is a startling number given that the average U.S. household harbors over $7,000 in unused items. This excess could be sold, traded for other items or even better, given away.

Many of us will be receiving a few new gadgets this year, maybe an Apple iPod Touch or iPad, or Let’s Rock! Elmo for the kids. Whether you receive the latest Kindle Reader, a camcorder, flat screen television or surround sound system, there is the old model that is destined for the Island of Misfit Toys now that it has been upgraded.

Were you wondering what to do with this outdated item …. or maybe items?

Here’s an idea! Since most of us are connected to our friends and family on our social networks already…. How about creating a Tradepal online garage sale and list these items for sale, trade or as a giveaway?

Pin It

07

Dec

Along with social networks, the latest trends offer emerging artists new outlets to build awareness and tap into crowds. This infographic illustrates how pop, graffiti and street art evolved overtime. Artists are no longer limited to the will of traditional tastemakers and their imposed offline options such as galleries and expensive art fairs. 
In the same way talented musicians leverage YouTube and Twitter to gain exposure and build their networks, street and pop artists can access the masses online, cultivate an audience and build popular support.
We encourage emerging artists to leverage Tradepal's social network-like marketplace to build their free online gallery and promote their art using our free social media tools. 

Along with social networks, the latest trends offer emerging artists new outlets to build awareness and tap into crowds. This infographic illustrates how pop, graffiti and street art evolved overtime. Artists are no longer limited to the will of traditional tastemakers and their imposed offline options such as galleries and expensive art fairs. 

In the same way talented musicians leverage YouTube and Twitter to gain exposure and build their networks, street and pop artists can access the masses online, cultivate an audience and build popular support.

We encourage emerging artists to leverage Tradepal's social network-like marketplace to build their free online gallery and promote their art using our free social media tools. 

Pin It

05

Dec

Art Basel 2011: Musings and Curation in Images

This is our curated selection of the most interesting pieces we came across during the 10th edition of ArtBasel. Some of it is from art fairs and galleries, but most of what we liked was displayed by emerging artists on the streets of Wynwood. 

We’ve seen it all during this edition of ArtBasel: from SuperYachts and motorcades for the rich and famous to inspiring struggling artists that have driven their vans thousands of miles to showcase their art. We’ve attended the 1%’s most extravagant parties, but loved hanging out with the 99% at places like the Electric Pickle. 

We have observed how the tastemakers, i.e. curators and art critics cherished their pompous privileges, and we dreamt about how the convergence of art and technology could give a voice to the general public and lead to crowd-curation.

For that, we invite all emerging artists to build their online galleries on Tradepal!

Pin It

29

Nov

5 Simple Tips to Selling on Tradepal


Undust your cupboards: You have stuff around you worth gold!

1- Dare to list: It’s fast, easy and free!
Automated listing system: image suggestions. original price suggestion, enter item title, write (or copy paste) item description, set friendly price and… Shazam!

2- We’re among friends: Price Reasonably!
Offer a Friendly Price that’s attractive enough. Other users can vote on your pricing. Adjust pricing accordingly!

3- Promote and Share your item 
Share on facebook, twitter, Tradepal’s fanpage. It’s FREE!

4- Invite friends and followers
Share your garage sale with your friends via Facebook and Twitter. 

5- Communicate with buyers
Via internal Tradepal chat, comments, or email. 

Pin It