The peer to peer marketplace is growing at quite a pace, with new platforms seemingly arriving on a daily basis to impact well established industries. Last year for instance I wrote about the growth of a number of sites offering a peer to peer postal service.
The basic gist of these services is that you share with your contacts when you’re going somewhere, and if they can take a package with them (or bring something back) then you begin that conversation. There are even tentative moves by retailers to offer similar customer delivery services, although that seems a little way off yet.
Another industry that is being impacted by the peer to peer process is the self storage industry. A new site called Boxbee has launched with the aim of applying peer to peer principles to the industry.
They believe that having items tucked securely away in storage facilities is a bit of a waste, so have built their site to help people share those items to friends and family rather than leave them gathering dust in a warehouse.
The company, based in San Francisco, send users a heavy duty box to place their belongings into. This is then sent to the company’s secure storage facility, with the items added to an online inventory that can be managed by each user. If they require any particular item from their box, they can locate it online and request it be delivered back to them.
The social part however allows users to also do this to 3rd parties. So if a friend wants to borrow something, the user can easily request that instead of being delivered to home, it can be delivered to their friend’s house. It’s all tracked via the users dashboard, so they can easily keep up with which friend has which item.
The service costs between $6 and $9 per month, although it costs $15 to send an item. This last figure sounds rather high to me and may limit the amount of sharing that goes on, although I have to confess that I’m not a user of self-storage so don’t know how these prices stack up against rival services.
As a concept though it’s certainly an interesting one, and worth keeping an eye on.Original post