In the era of mobile, social, and the sharing economy, we’re seeing the emergence of next-gen mobile-enabled marketplaces in every ecommerce category, from fashion (Poshmark), to health (Brighter and HealthTap), lodging (Airbnb and HotelTonight), transportation (Uber and Lyft), and real estate (Zillow).
However, we have noticed that several conventional wisdoms surrounding marketplaces are getting disrupted. It’s important to constantly question traditional assumptions whenever new platforms arise, as it’s these disruptions which incumbents often fail to adopt, leaving room for innovative startups to spring ahead in new land-grab opportunities.
Mayfield recently hosted a Mobile Marketplaces dinner with leading entrepreneurs, which yielded several insights.
Myth #1: Online marketplaces have no offline component
Many of the newer service marketplaces feel more like “movements” rather than “businesses,” and actually require very careful architecture of the end-to-end experience both online and offline, including areas such as culture and workflow.
“Mobile is a foundational part of the Airbnb experience. When you travel, you are constantly on the go, so being connected to your mobile device might be your only digital lens into the world,” says Shaun Modi, designer at Airbnb. “How do we design and build a world-class mobile experience that not only satisfies the needs of our users, but fuels growth and inspires more people to join the Airbnb global community? It all starts with culture.
“By focusing on designing our internal culture, it seamlessly translates to the experience we create, both online and offline. Everything from the layout of our office, design principles, team structures, and interview process definitively reflects who we are.”
Modi also says startups should invest internally to inspire employees to have empathy for each other and for their customers.Continue Reading