This is a translation of a French article (Explorer le potentiel de l’économie collaborative) by La Fabrique de l’Exportation
We are witnessing the rise of the collaborative economy, a new production system where economic actors, which are intelligently connected through trusted platforms, cooperate to increase efficiency and reduce costs of production. There have been multiple applications: car pooling, apartment rental for holidays, housekeeping services, training, software and engineering products in open source, etc.
Export activity is essentially collaborative. Each exporter must be fully integrated into an ecosystem to optimize sales, including: distribution, transportation, financing, foreign business and commercial insights as well as recovery of all related economic actors. Academic research also proves that the more an exporter cooperates with his distributor, the more effective his activities are. So, exporters should consider the relationship with their distributors as a way to achieve commercial objectives together (by sharing resources, capacities and information). A talented exporter is one who knows how to build business relationships (and contracts) that generate trust, facilitate and stimulate cooperation.
Some platforms are starting to facilitate the collaborative economy. For example, the Mocity app helps you find other exporters or Prestashare to find companion companies. Beside those online communities, there are also “collaborative export” operations initiated by Medef, OSCI and ADEPTA, which aims to help exporters join forces in the conquest of international markets by pooling commercial information, marketing/commercial actions to build more comprehensive offers to international customers or traders.
A platform for crowd-exporting is to be invented. Imagine that you want to distribute your cosmetics in Australia. You do not know this market but the platform (let’s call it TheHub) will help you create a skillful team and a trusting relationship with them. Via TheHub, you can interview Pierre, a former L’Oréal Australia Director, who explains the Australia market to you and gives you advice on marketing strategy. Then you recruit Eamon, a freelance designer who will generate an ad hoc packaging and your “Australia special” samples on his 3D printer. You will also find John, a former Beiersdorf Australia salesman who wants to be your local account manager. Smart contracts can be signed among you, your selected personnel and your distributors. These electronic contracts, deposited on the block chain, collect the money from your sales and automatically redistribute a percentage to Pierre, Eamon and John. The whole process is guaranteed by TheHub.
The day when an on-cloud platform is able to create trust between economic actors, the possibility for international development will be unlimited. Remember the struggle of renting a holiday apartment before AirBnB or hitchhiking before Blablacar. A tool for exporting at zero level of organization is waiting for you to create!
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