By now, many of us have heard the origin stories of the major players in the gig economy. They often follow the same story-line: X service was developed by so-and-so based on a personal pain point that led to the development of platform X, which allows peers to share X.
And this is great! Online marketplaces have changed e-commerce for the better, and the WeGoLook team are so proud to be a part of it.
But this is only phase 1 of the gig economy transformation.
Let us explain.
The Gig Economy Phase 1: P2P
The gig economy is a fundamental shift in how we consume. The beginnings of the gig economy are rooted in peer-to-peer marketplaces, where workers and consumers can engage in an economic exchange with one another directly.
Need a graphic designer? Hop on to Upwork and connect with thousands of candidates. Want to drive people around in your spare time? Check out Uber. Have a basement apartment that isn't being productive? Rent it out on Airbnb. Want to use your spare time to help consumers verify assets? Check out WeGoLook.
You get the point.
The economics of the gig economy are not difficult to understand, which is why PwC predicts it will be a $300 billion industry by 2025.
But a potentially larger market is taking notice of the gig economy, and this is where we get into the phase 2 side of our story.
The Gig Economy Phase 2: B2B
We love the quote by entrepreneur Paul Hawken, who in 2013 stated the that B2B gig economy services would grow to be "bigger than the Internet" in transforming commercial exchanges. Paul was right, but a little ahead of his time.
The gig economy's shift from P2P to B2B began with business travel, then found a natural home in the logistics industry, and is maturing through on-demand staffing models.
A few years ago, we began hearing rumblings of gig economy offerings to the business travel market, although it was limited in nature.
For instance, Airbnb partnered with travel companies to capture business travel budgets that were primarily the wheelhouse of hotels. And astonishingly, Uber now accounts for 40% of business ground transportation in the U.S.
Although a significant shift, this was just the beginning of the gig economy's potential for B2B services.
The Logistics Industry
The natural home for gig economy services is the logistics industry. Wasted or underused space in shipping containers, warehousing, and air and ground shipments account for billions of dollars of lost (or potential) revenue. No wonder the logistics industry has jumped on the gig economy bandwagon.
Now, shipping and warehousing companies are collaborating with each other in unique ways.
But this transition we are witnessing in the shipping industry is moving now toward where the B2B market has the most potential: people.
Gig Economy and B2B Maturity: On-Demand Workforces
"Leveraging the power of on-demand staffing allows enterprises to focus on what made them successful in the first place, their business services." - Robin Smith, Co-Founder, and CEO WeGoLook
Businesses of all types are tapping into the promise of on-demand gig workforces to fulfill staffing needs. A recent study reported that 40% of the U.S. workforce will be classified as independent, or freelance, workers by 2020.
Moreover, Fast Company aptly referred to this trend as "the future work," where on-demand flexible workforces will change the way people earn income. And, how businesses fulfill staffing needs.
The real promise of the gig economy B2B market is the ability to leverage people's spare time and turn them into an on-demand workforce. And WeWouldKnow.
WeGoLook has over 30,000 on-demand workers ready at the swipe of a smartphone app.
WeGoLook is the first of its kind to provide an on-demand workforce for B2B clients. For instance, a bank needs finance documents executed by a customer who only speaks Mandarin. The WeGoLook platform will solicit only Lookers who speak Mandarin and are mobile notaries. That Looker receives all information via our mobile technology app and submits the data the same way. This results in the ability for a Looker to quickly go to the customer's location and not inconvenience the customer to have to come to bank. Our Lookers are becoming part of the process for many companies.
Because the number of gig workers is predicted to rise, businesses who leverage these flexible staffing options now will find themselves ahead of the innovation curve.
What is clear is that the shift to B2B services in the gig economy is an evolution. We are certainly in the early stages, but the promise of the B2B gig economy is a powerful one as businesses of all sorts begin to take notice.