Posted by Guru Rao

There are two kinds of people: Those who think the on-demand economy is a bubble waiting to burst, and those who think it’s the bedrock of future commerce.

In the past few years, evidence has increasingly pointed toward the latter assertion, most recently in the form of Wal-Mart. In a bid to compete with Amazon Prime – arguably one of the founding fathers of the on-demand economy – the company is testing a program, according to USA Today, that will let employees make deliveries during their commutes to and from work, using a dedicated mobile app as their concierge.

If this store-to-door delivery model takes off, it will only add credence to what we already believe to be true: The on-demand economy is here to stay.

On the coattails of industry 4.0

“Customers want reliability, transparency and expediency in product and service delivery.”

Just as manufacturers have sought to digitize upstream operations using big data, advanced analytics, cloud computing and other transformative technologies, an increasing number of retailers and

B2B shipping companies are exploring digital avenues to enhance downstream operations – Wal-Mart being just one example.

Why? Because it’s increasingly what the consumer expects.

Industry 4.0 is a great story, but it’s primarily been told from the manufacturer’s point of view. The on-demand economy lives downstream with the retailers, distributors and delivery services, all of whom get much more face time with consumers. Yes, industry 4.0 provided the prelude for the on-demand economy. But chapters two through 10 are about the consumers, and they want more of what Amazon Prime gave them and what Wal-Mart is now trying to give them. They want reliability, transparency and expediency in product and service delivery.

What’s next for the on-demand economy?

According to the Harvard Business Review, the on-demand economy, though young, is already generating more than $57 billion in annual revenue (and it’s growing), with online marketplaces representing the lion’s share of those gains. And as Wal-Mart’s new delivery model has shown, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

So the question that is perhaps even more important than what’s next for the on-demand economy, is “what’s next for your business?”

Well, downstream operations are ground zero for this brave new world. Data analytics, cloud computing and mobility are the building materials. Customer satisfaction is the blueprint, and you are the architect. Now all you need are the right tools.

Contact nuDeliverIt today to learn all about them.

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More than just a trend: Why the on-demand economy is here to stay