Welcome To The New Self-Service Economy

Smart companies are jumping on the Zipcar bandwagon, offering customers greater control over services, argues Ziba’s Cale Thompson.

On a hot summer afternoon, a young family is out in a farm field, picking strawberries and placing them carefully onto flats. Their backs are sore and their clothes are stained with sweat, yet they’re happily working away, anticipating the moment when they’ll load their flats into the car and drive away. When it comes time to pay on the way out, they’ll do so happily, despite the fact that they’re spending nearly as much as they would have on identical berries at a supermarket close to home.

The U-Pick berry farm where this scene plays out represents a business model that’s been embraced by consumers for decades, but it defies the traditional laws of commerce. Why would anyone choose to do something themselves that a reasonably priced professional could do faster and at far greater convenience?

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Source: Fast Company