All Posts

Power to the People – uShip, HomeAway, TicketCity Execs on the Role of the Marketplace Economy

In the marketplace of the Sharing Economy, new and different online business models facilitate bringing consumers and sellers together in a powerful way.

Choice, trust, ease of use, and pricing are driving a new way of doing business, for both supply and demand sides in the world of the online marketplace today. Heather Hoover-Salomon, Executive VP of Operations at uShip, Tina Weyand, Chief Product Officer at HomeAway, and Ashley Boening, VP of Marketing at TicketCity were among online business leaders speaking on the “Power to the People” panel at SXSW in Austin, Texas, last week.

Customers benefit from a vast new market of that expanded choice where pricing is dictated by supply and demand.

It’s critical that a marketplace’s value is conveyed to customers, says Hoover-Salomon. She also says the trust is huge. A company has to stand behind its product — the marketplace — to ensure that content is true and accurate in a venue that can be confusing, moreso as the market grows and iterates over time.

In the online sharing economy, the available immediate feedback loop is critical, too.  Steve Dorsey, VP of Innovation and Planning at Austin American-Statesman pointed out that, as a news outlet, they are in the business of trust, or they lose the business. The supply chain gets vetted via customer feedback – if renters of a home on HomeAway trash the rental, if carriers don’t arrive on time. “Customer feedback is the cornerstone of trust in the uShip marketplace,” says Hoover-Salomon.

According to Hoover-Salomon, the marketplace must educate the customer along the way. Customers will make the trade off between five stars or three stars depending on what part of the process is more valuable to them. “Negative feedback makes it real” — it provides more value and makes the marketplace believable. It “humanizes” the experience.

Features and functionalities empower customers and suppliers, says Hoover-Salomon. The online marketplace is a more customized and personalized experience compared to opening the phonebook and dialing randomly. You have the power to get a better deal and get what you want how you want it when you want it.

Power to the people.