Have been thinking about the retail implications of an early May article in the Wall Street Journal.
“Renting Prosperity” (by Daniel Gross, May 5) spoke to the growing trend of rental – and not just in the traditional housing or automotive markets. Numerous other rental business have emerged in recent years, from the Zipcar car-sharing plan to the Chegg.com college textbook service to the one million customers who have used Rent the Runway’s frock-and-accessory services.
The obvious implication for retail is all about new business models. A number of traditional brick-and-mortar players are now testing the waters. We’re aware of initiatives in which purveyors of hard goods are renting clothes washing machines by the load and high-end consumers of electronics are leasing home theatre set-ups and even iPads – along with monthly subscriptions, say, to Netflix.
But the lessons of the rental trend go deeper than simply a new business model.
If there’s one thing that service providers are familiar with, it’s change. There’s been nothing but change -- wave after wave of disruptive change -- from the industry deregulation of the 1980s, the convergence of voice, data, and video of the past couple of decades, to the current era of digital media, which devours SP capacity without contributing equivalent revenue. But if you see change as opportunity, the projections of overwhelming future video growth is the potential “mother lode.”
The challenge is finding ways to monetize video traffic. This can be done by breaking out of traditional mindsets and adopting a two-sided business model -- serving consumers as well as customers and business partners.