There are some parallels between the physical world and the internet. Economics of scale apply to both. Big worldwide companies offer the same standardized products and services. In the physical world they are called: Coca-Cola, Dell, Visa, … On the internet you can find Facebook, Ebay, Paypal, Twitter, Tumblr…
These companies modify their product/service and adapt their communication strategies to suite the local needs. Nonetheless, try as they may, they fundamentally cannot offer a personalized buying experience, for the simple reason that there are too many different types of customer. Observe in how many different ways Italians order their coffee and you’ll get the picture. One day a robot may be able to match the experience, but we still have some time left.
So what happens in the real physical world? Below the market leaders a lot of different local brands exist that satisfy this customer’s longing for diversity and personal fulfillment.
When I observe the internet, I can easily identify the big global companies. However, when searching for the same products and services delivered at a local and more personal level, I do not find many companies. In most markets you should have a few big players and many smaller players. On the internet, my impression is that the number of smaller and local players, who aim for personalized products and services, is far too low.
I cannot refer to the Harvard business review to make my point. But I can tell you about my own startup. ywwy.be is an efficient platform for translations. Post your translation job and you will get several quotes for free. In addition, ywwy.be offers you guidance and administration right through to the end of your job: from receiving quotes, selecting the best quote, follow-up, delivery of the text up to the final payment.
I found less than 10 worldwide platforms offering this kind of service. When I looked at the Belgian market, I found none. ywwy.be intends to serve the local market, better and faster than the global players. For example, the market of sworn translations in Belgium is different from any other country. My sites beedigde-vertalingen.be (obsolete) and traductions-jurees.be (obsolete) harvest and transfer these types of customer to ywwy.org . No global company would bother doing this !
Look around. No need to invent a new internet business model. Study an existing one and create a much improved, localized, personalized version. I recently discovered esperity.com a Facebook-like platform for Cancer patients. Again, a known concept that was tailored to match a specific group of people.
Why not compete with the likes of Wallmart and Delhaize and start your own grocery store. If your product or service is better or just that little bit different, there is definitely a market place waiting for you.
Oh, yes, and next time you have a translation job, consider ywwy.be