Last December, I was a panelist at the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society held in Deauville, France. We discussed the sharing economy and how to collaboratively create new economic opportunities for women. It was an honour to be part of the panel discussion, led by Jürgen Hecker, Senior Economics Editor of AFP, along with three other distinguished women:
- Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissière, Executive Vice-President Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange
- Estelle Metayer, President and CEO, Competia, Member of the Board, Zag Bank and BRP, and Member, Women’s Forum Program Committee
- Maria A. Ressa, Journalist and CEO, Rappler
The Women’s Forum Global Meeting’s 2016 theme was “Is the sharing economy a sharing world?”. Here are some highlights from my section of the panel discussion:
The Subscription Economy - Experience vs. Property
Part of the subscription economy deals with sharing, but a wider aspect is more about the shift that we see from product ownership to outcomes and experiences. For example, Hello Fresh is one of the subscriptions that I signed up to recently. This is a box of produce that gets delivered to your door, it has the menu and the recipe card so that you have everything in the box that you need in order to cook 2 or 3 family meals during the week. I really enjoy spending time with my children to see what’s in the box and cook together.
Providing Better Service to Keep Customers
I can’t remember when I last bought a DVD. If I look back at my parents generation, status very much revolves what you owned - how big or fancy your house or car were. The concept of ownership is outdated. We’re completely shifting away from ownership and the status of that, and more towards looking at the experiences and how you can change those experiences on a regular basis. A lot of us have had some really bad experiences subscribing to a particular service - that’s changing. Companies recognize that has to change. Otherwise, it’s too easy to switch subscriptions - you can easily move from Netflix to HBO (or vice versa) based on a good or bad experience. Organizations recognize that they need to have a hard look at how they can keep their customers for the long term and how they need to provide a much better service on the back of the subscription.
Where Does the Subscription Model End?
I’m sure there’ll be some ownership that you can’t get rid of. For example, you may have a pen that was given to you for some great service you provided. But why shouldn’t you share wedding dresses or clothing? Why shouldn’t you share bikes? There’s a fantastic company that is going back to the basics of redesigning bicycles in a really high quality manner because they want to be able to reuse them; recycling is part of their responsibility. If they own the product, they can upcycle parts and we, as consumers, can use that product for different age groups that need bikes. Then they certainly can be responsible for recycling and reusing the products that they’re making so I don’t think there’s any end or any constriction to what we’re going to see in terms of subscriptions.
Unlimited Options for the Subscription Economy
At Zuora, we’re really lucky that we can work with all sorts of different organizations - from launch companies that are trying to launch new products and services to the market right away, to really long-term traditional organizations who are trying to reinvent themselves and take their products and serves to market in a new way. A great example are connected homes, where you have a device in your home that allows you to track the usage of your energy consumption. But in addition to that, there would be an additional service of home security that’s provided on top. So effectively, you’ll have a complete home service; it’s not just about energy and utility, it’s about security and anything else that you can think of that is based around the home.
On Women and the New Sharing Economy
Networking, coaching, and mentoring are just certain aspects that help to promote women in tech. I firmly believe that it’s a collaboration of all types of people that make us better, as a team we will always be far greater than alone. Women tend to vote with their feet. When they don’t agree with the organization in terms of diversity and inclusiveness, they go out and they setup their own businesses. I really applaud women who do that.
The sharing economy is here. In fact, established organized sectors and industries are aware of understanding the importance of how we work as well as consume products. But as we become more accustomed to sharing products and services with others, we need to translate that business practice into helping create a more collaborative society. All of us here today need to be going back into our organizations and ask what we are doing about inclusion and diversity. How are we making progress with our initiatives within our organizations and how do you measure the outcomes and success? I believe that together, we’re always going to be more successful and that requires all of us to make a difference.
View the entire panel discussion here.
As V.P. of Global Services EMEA at Zuora, Tamsyn Attiwell has created a high performing professional services team across EMEA to ensure the successful implementation of Zuora’s Relationship Business Management solution, partnering with their executive teams to ensure they are offering their own customers a subscription experience to remember.
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