As modern technology evolves and the market changes, the most significant new developments are often ones that we barely notice. The rise of marketplaces is a powerful case in point. Rather than relying on centralized businesses for services, consumers are now turning to online networks, or Marketplaces, to hire freelance professionals. Also known as the Gig Economy, this trend is redefining industries as diverse as hospitality, transportation, marketing, and food sales. By paying attention to which industries Marketplaces have disrupted the most, as well as to how traditional businesses have responded, you can understand one of the modern economy’s most significant developments.
Reinventing Key Industries
Marketplaces have already come to dominate a number of fields, including:
- Transportation- Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are rapidly displacing taxi services, offering more flexible transportation options at lower prices. In response, taxi drivers have sought to keep their cabs cleaner, drive more safely, and be more courteous to their customers.
- Hospitality- Hotels have been losing business to Airbnb, a website that allows people to rent their houses and apartments to visitors. To win some of this business back, hotels have begun working with private homeowners to offer luxury rooms in their houses and apartments.
- Retail- Websites like Etsy offer access to used, handmade, and unique items, meaning fewer customers have to visit retail stores. Luckily, Etsy is open to selling products from other retailers, allowing those businesses to remain profitable by transitioning to an online sales model.
As these examples demonstrate, disrupting an industry doesn’t necessarily mean putting older firms out of business. Taxis, retailers, and hotels have been able to survive the rise of the Gig Economy, but only by stepping up their standards of service and learning from the marketplaces that challenge them. Even consumers who do not use marketplaces, then, are benefiting from this new development.
Prospects for Future Change
While few other industries have been transformed as much as retail, transportation, and hospitality have, marketplaces are likely to continue expanding into other fields. The services that are most likely to be reinvented by the Gig Economy include:
- Food Service- While restaurants remain dominant for the time being, marketplaces like Munchery are slowly changing the nature of dining. Through these apps, freelance cooks can advertise their dishes to potential customers, who can have them delivered directly to their homes. This allows individuals, families, and businesses to sample a wide range of quality foods without ever having to go out, and often for a fraction of the price of doing so.
- Beauty Services- Instead of going to a physical salon, consumers can use services like Miniluxe to find hair stylists, makeup artists, and countless other beauty service professionals. These professionals can travel to their homes or any other locations that are convenient for them. This is particularly valuable for weddings and other events that are often held in remote locations, where it may be difficult to obtain services from more traditional salons.
- Medicine- Who says doctors don’t make house calls anymore? Marketplaces like DoctorOnDemand allow you to find a doctor who can visit your specific location as soon as you need them. There is also TelaDoc, which facilitates phone and VoIP calls with doctors and other healthcare professionals. These marketplaces have the potential to radically increase the flexibility and convenience of medical services.
- Logistics- Just as Uber and Lyft have changed the nature of personal transportation, so are GetWagon and My Truck Buddy redefining cargo carrying. Through these marketplaces, you can find independent drivers who own their own trucks to carry your furniture, business equipment, and other heavy cargo. This is making hauling simpler and less expensive.
As the Gig Economy continues to expand, more and more industries will be affected by it. Consumers and business can expect their options to increase, costs to decrease, and quality of service to improve.