It seems logical that retailers would fear a world in which it’s easier for people to share items and resources than for each person to buy their own. However, the opportunity exists for big retailers to change how their customers see them.
Doug Stephens of Retail Prophet uses the example of Home Depot connecting its customers with one another to share power tools (Home Depot already has a service for renting tools rather than buying them). Like cars or second homes, power tools are a resource which mostly sits unused on a typical day.
Home Depot could become a hub for people to share, Stephens says,and become the centre of a community of power-tool users; including both the sharer and the borrower.
“They can say… ‘If we can put those two people together, then we own the terms of reference – we own the network’,” Stephens told us following a Soho House event curated by Dx3.
“Of course there’s the opportunity for Home Depot to monetize that too.”