We are experiencing a mobile revolution. Nielsen now projects that half the mobile universe will own a smartphone by the end of the year. One implication: sellers will be able to connect with buyers that have an ephemeral need. Welcome to the new world of “people commerce.”
I am certain that most of you reading this post have experienced eBay or Craigslist, two services that created a marketplace for buyers and sellers. The difference with “people commerce” is that it’s mobile, location based and all about real time availability. People connect regarding goods and services that normally do not have a marketplace because they are valued differently. A good example is parking. Earlier in the year, two San Franciscans introduced Park Circa. Owners register their parking space, availability and asking price. Buyers who are driving into San Francisco can use their smartphones to locate a space that meet their immediate needs. Travel is going to be a natural for “people commerce”. Airbnb, 9flats Roomarama, etc. are relatively new companies that connect people who are willing to rent a spare room or even a tree house to adventurous travelers on the move who are looking to save a few dollars plus gain insight on how local residents live. One company that has been receiving a lot of ink is Zaarly which was launched at SXSW in Austin in May. Partly funded by Ashton Kutcher, the app enables buyers to enter their need which Zaarly broadcasts via Twitter to line up potential sellers. Buyers can then connect and negotiate with sellers via an anonymous party-line or a face to face rendezvous. So think about it, when iPad 3 is finally introduced, what would you be willing to pay a seller who has been camping out for days at the Apple Store for his or her space?
Oh by the way, I understand the heat wave is going to continue here in Philadelphia this week. I am looking for a backyard with a pool and a Weber cooker for a two day rental.