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英语新闻:为何Uber模式不是各行业都适用

2015-05-19    来源:财富中文网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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英语新闻:为何Uber模式不是各行业都适用

英语新闻:

The success of Uber has inspired hundreds of startups to call themselves the “Uber of X, Y, or Z.” There are now apps to order groceries, to have you car washed, to get legal counsel, and much more. Uber is part of a broad category of on-demand mobile services. Thanks to smartphones and cloud computing, it’s easier than ever to connect people who need a job done with people looking to take on some extra work and monetize their spare time.

Entrepreneurs and investors are excited by the massive opportunity potential, while others worry that the Uberification of our economy will turn every good full-time job into a flex-time gig. However, amidst all the fear and exuberance, it’s important to realize that the on-demand service model won’t work for every industry.

Several underlying factors made the taxi industry ripe for disruption by on-demand marketplaces: It’s a commoditized service with a high-purchase frequency that is truly time-sensitive. While these ingredients certainly aren’t unique to hiring a ride, they do not cut across all industries and verticals. Consequently, finding an untapped market and saying you’re going to build the “Uber for X” is hardly a surefire route to success.


Underlying Commoditized Services

When it comes to hiring a ride, most of us are happy as long as a driver brings us from Point A to Point B in a clean car without getting lost. This makes us pretty flexible in terms of who delivers the service. Yet the more complex the service, the harder it becomes for consumers to accept the idea that somebody at random will show up each time. We develop preferences for who cuts our hair, babysits our children, performs home repair, and gives out legal/medical advice.

To overcome the trust-barrier, marketplaces can leverage user reviews and Facebook profiles. For example, through Facebook Connect, Airbnb has managed to make people feel safe and secure when opening up their home or staying in a stranger’s place. Other strategies are to certify the service provider pool, tie into existing review sites/peer testimonials, and offer money-back guarantees.

Sites do exist for non-commoditized services today. But they operate more like lead generation engines than actual marketplaces capable of facilitating the entire transaction with the couple-of-taps simplicity of Uber.

Marketplaces for complex transactions will need to productize their services, with boxed offerings that pre-define the scope, pricing, duration, and deliverables of a service. By removing choice and customization from the process, it’s more realistic for customers to arrange a complex service on a mobile app.

High-purchase frequency

The best marketplaces have high-purchase frequency and regular usage. For city dwellers and frequent travelers, taxis are used on a daily, or at least weekly, basis. On top of this, Uber also enjoys significant spill-over effects as travelers move from one location to another.

With high-frequency use cases, customers fall into the habit of using the same service as long as they’re satisfied. It’s easy then for a startup to become the “homescreen app” for that particular use case. In contrast, it’s much harder to retain customer mindshare with lower-purchase frequencies. For example, if customers need a yard cleanup a few times a year, they’re more likely to begin the research process over again each time.

True on-demand use case

Many of the services that fall into the on-demand mobile services category aren’t actually “on-demand.” In most cases you don’t need a cleaning service or house painter to show up within minutes, or even the same day. But taxis are a different story.

A true on-demand marketplace requires sufficient liquidity on the supply side. Without enough available drivers in a car service marketplace, customers will be left waiting on the curb. This creates a large barrier to enter the market, since a new competitor needs to launch with hundreds of providers, not just a handful.

By contrast when services can be delivered with more flexible timing, it’s easier for competitors to enter a vertical or new location and there’s less of a “winner takes all” dynamic. As such, we can expect just one or two major players for a true on-demand service, while less time-sensitive markets will be crowded with smaller companies.

Final thoughts

This is not to say that Uber will be the last multi-billion dollar marketplace unicorn. I have no doubt that some savvy companies will figure out how to move more complex transactions online, shaking up more industries in the process. However, entrepreneurs and investors need to be thoughtful when evaluating the underlying factors of a marketplace and vertical, as the “Uber of X” won’t necessarily work as well as the original.

counsel: n.协商,讨论; 建议; 策略; 

surefire: adj.一定成功的,不会失败的; 万全

leverage: v.举债经营; 借贷收购

(财富中文网)


Uber的成功鼓舞了成百上千家初创公司,它们打出旗号,自称为“XX业的Uber”。如今,帮助你订购生活用品、洗车、寻找法律顾问等的应用纷纷涌现。Uber是按需移动服务这一大类产品的代表。拜智能手机和云计算所赐,需要办事的人现在可以更容易找到那些希望利用闲暇时间兼职挣钱的人士。

企业家和投资者为其中蕴含的巨大机遇和潜力感到兴奋,不过也有其他人担心经济“Uber化”会让一切优秀的全职工作变成弹性制的临时活计。不过无论是恐惧还是热切期盼,有一点我们得明白:按需服务并不适用于所有行业。

有许多潜在因素导致按需服务市场颠覆出租车行业的时机已经成熟:这是一项商品化服务,消费频率高,时效性强。尽管这些特质绝不是出租车行业独有的,但也不是所有行业和领域都有类似情况。因此,找一个尚未开发的市场,宣布你要做一款“XX行业的Uber”,并不能保证你取得成功。

潜在的商品化服务

当我们需要打车时,只要能有一位司机开着干净整洁的汽车,把我们从A地带到B地而不会有迷路的风险,就能让我们感到满意。因此,我们对谁来提供这项服务并不是十分在意。不过服务越复杂,消费者就越难接受这种服务人员的随机性。在选择谁来给我们理发,帮我们照看小孩,修理家具,提供法律或医疗服务上,我们都会有所偏好。

为了克服这种信任障碍,市场可以利用用户评论和Facebook上的档案。比如说,房屋租赁服务商Airbnb利用Facebook Connect,设法让人们在开放自己的家庭或留宿在陌生人家中时感到安全可靠。其他的方式还包括证明自己的服务提供商资质,与已有的评论网站合作以获得客户评价,并提供退款保障。

如今,尚未商品化的服务网站已经存在。不过它们的运作更像是营销拓展的手段,而不是利用Uber这样通过简单几次点击的应用,促进整体业务发展的实际市场。

想要在市场中开展复杂的业务,需要把服务产品化,也就是提前设定服务的范围、价格、持续时间、可交付成果等一系列内容。只有去掉了服务中的可选因素和定制化部分,顾客通过移动应用来使用一项复杂服务才会变得比较现实。

高消费频率

最好的市场中,服务的消费频率和使用率很高。对城市居民和经常旅行的人来说,出租车是每日或至少是每周都得使用的工具。此外,随着旅客从一个地方去到另一个地方,Uber还有了显著的溢出效应。

在高频率的使用下,消费者一旦满意某项服务,就会习惯于一直使用它。因此,一家初创公司在这样的况下成为“手机必备应用”也就轻而易举了。相比之下,如果消费者的购买频率不高,想要让他们保持对品牌的关注就难得多。比如,如果消费者每年只需要清扫几次院子,他们更可能每次都重新研究一下哪家的服务更好。

真正的按需服务

许多想要做成按需移动服务的服务类型,实际上并不是“按需”的。大多数情况下,你不需要清洁工或房屋油漆工在几分钟,甚至是在当天内就上门服务。但出租车的情况则完全不同。

真正的按需服务市场需要供应方拥有足够的流动性。如果出租车服务市场没有足够的司机,消费者就只能在路边干等着。这种流动性使得其他公司很难进入这个市场,因为新来的竞争者也得拥有数百个司机,而不是几个就够了。

相反,如果某项服务可以更灵活地安排交付时间,竞争者就能更轻易地进入一个垂直行业或是新领域,“赢家通吃”的趋势也不会那么明显。如此一来,我们预计在真正的按需服务领域只会看到一到两家大型供应商,而在那些对时间不太敏感的市场则会充满众多小公司的身影。

结语

这并不是说Uber将成为市场上价值数十亿美元的最后一家公司。我坚信一些经验丰富的公司会设法把更加复杂的业务推向网络,并颠覆更多的行业。然而,企业家和投资者需要深思熟虑地评估市场和垂直行业的潜在因素,因为“XX业的Uber”未必能像原版Uber那样奏效。



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