Guest Post: Is your customer going to be your biggest competitor?

Guest Post: Is your customer going to be your biggest competitor?

By Charles Duncombe, owner and director of Holidays Please

The tech world loves jargon, especially if it’s got a “2” in the middle of it. We have B2C, B2B, and now we can now add C2C.

C2C describes consumers selling to consumers and cutting business out of the loop. We have had a subtle version of C2C for a number of years now as TripAdvisor has allowed customers to advise customers on where to go on holiday. So why need a travel agent eh?

But C2C is becoming a more direct competitor every day. The largest example in travel is Airbnb where consumers rent out rooms in their homes to holidaymakers. Who would really want sleep in a stranger’s home? Well over 60 million people according to Airbnb’s latest figures!

And it’s not just holiday accommodation where C2C is gaining traction. You now have people renting out their driveways for parking instead of using airport parking.

Or why not go one better and actually have your car generate money for you as you can now rent it out while you are away. So instead of paying for airport parking your car is making money for you while you are on holiday!

There are also currency services where you can sell your unused currency to other holidaymakers. Will it be too much longer before there is a crowdsourced insurance fund where people club together to underwrite travel insurance for people?

Whatever direction C2C takes it’s easy to brush it off as a passing phase.

However I remember when people brushed off eBay.. “You hand your money over to someone you don’t know before they send you something that you have only seen a picture of?” But look at how eBay (and now Amazon marketplace) have become giants in the retail sector by enabling customers to do business with each other.

While some people might see C2C as a threat to their business it can actually present opportunity for growth.

Many websites will list reviews from their existing customers which helps to get customers further down the sales funnel. But could you take it one stage further? Could you set up online webinars between customers to talk about their holidays and inspire each other? It could increase conversion rates and decrease the time taken by your existing sales staff?

So while it might seem like customers are moving from assets to competitors, there may well be plenty of ways to move them back to the asset column if you apply your imagination.

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