Next week is Global Sharing Week, a token calendar week dedicated to businesses in the sharing economy, and if a survey of 850 UK and US consumers is anything to go by, more than one third of consumers have never participated in the sharing economy because of concerns about personal safety.
While certain sectors like used goods trading, accommodation, and transport are now mature and a mainstream, areas like peer-to-peer lending too are gaining traction, according to the Sharing Economy Consumer Views Survey, conducted by Veridu and The People Who Share.
According to the study, a main barrier to adoption is the lack of trust in sharing possessions with strangers and concerns for personal safety. “Peer trust is of crucial importance to the success of Sharing Economy platforms with participants actively researching the other party prior to engaging in a transaction. Of respondents who had abandoned a sharing economy transaction in the past, nearly a quarter (21 per cent) did so because they wanted to know more about the other party.,” said Rasmus Groth, founding CEO of Veridu.
Reviews left by other members and the reputation of the sharing platform were the most popular sources of information on both sides of the pond, with 98 per cent and 97 per cent of respondents respectively likely to research these at some level.
“The survey highlights the need for sharing economy platforms to put in place ‘TrustTech’ that allows members to build, manage and showcase their personal brands, enabling a bigger crowd to safely share goods and services,” according to Benita Matofska, founder of The People Who Share.
“With such importance placed on peer trust, the sharing economy must address the significant issue of fake reviews head on,” Veridu’s Groth added. “Recent media headlines have highlighted the scale of this problem, and while the big, established brands are in a position to weather the storm, a smaller, more recently established platform is likely to fail if building trust is not front and centre to their strategy.”
The sharing economy checklist
1. Check the platform’s trust and safety policy.
2. Choose a platform that conducts robust identity verification.
3. Read peer reviews before finalising a transaction with another member.
4. Build out your own profile on the platform to create your personal brand.
5. Be honest about yourself and about what you are sharing or offering.