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Products or services
TaskRabbit was founded in Boston, USA in 2008 and is an online service platform and marketplace for everyday tasks, jobs and services. The offer TaskRabbit provides is conjoining buyers and sellers of various services and facilitating their transactions. Buyers and sellers can easily connect and are able to then work out the framework conditions required for a specific service or job (Brunelli, 2019). Some of the popular categories on the TaskRabbit website are for instance handyman, cleaning, moving delivery or flat-pack assembly. The people who do the assigned work are called “taskers”, they can choose their own rates and schedules, adjusted to their previous work experience and skill set and their available timeframe. TaskRabbit offers the taskers nearby job opportunities via the website or mobile app, which have been previously uploaded by the customers (Taskrabbit.co.uk, 2019). TaskRabbit implemented an innovative algorithm matching buyers and sellers to find the best possible combination that fits both sides the most (Payton, 2017).
Udemy has a similar service to TaskRabbit in terms of connecting buyers and sellers. The difference is that at Udemy the buyers and sellers are students and instructors. Instructors can publish their courses from various subject areas online, which consumers can then purchase for a fee. This is how Udemy describes its business concept and service on its website: “By connecting students all over the world to the best instructors, Udemy is helping individuals reach their goals and pursue their dreams.” (Udemy About, 2019). Udemy uses personalized recommendations to provide its clients with customized and tailored on-demand videos, articles, exercises and more. The customer must answer a few questions first so that an algorithm then offers the matching top courses. There are a variety of different course categories available on their website and app. Business, IT and Software, Design, Marketing and Photography are among the top course list (Udemy, n.d.).
Business models and competitive strategies
Digital technologies are existential for the business model of both companies. The business model TaskRabbit as well as Udemy works with is the brokerage model. Brokers are creating markets in the sense that they connect buyers and sellers and that they enable and simplify the transactions between both parties. Both businesses operate in business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. A further distinction inside the brokerage model could be made that TaskRabbit and Udemy both are considered a virtual Marketplace, which describes an online hosting platform created by e-commerce merchants. These online merchants earn their profit by charging money for a setup on the website or app, or monthly abonnements for listing sellers on the website, or charging fees for every transaction made (Rappa, 2010). TaskRabbit charges a servicing fee which is 15% of the total the customer pays and a 7.5% Trust & Support fee (Loeb, 2018). Udemy's pricing strategies are more complex than those of TaskRabbit. Udemy will raise 3% of all revenue if the instructor has self-marketed the course to the student. Udemy receives 50% of the instructor's earnings when a client has become aware of a course through Udemy's marketing. In addition, Udemy will earn 25% if a client joins a course through a Udemy affiliate (Kataria, 2019). The economic environment in which TaskRabbit is operating is called "collaborative economy". This is a term for a structure of decentralized systems and markets, that unleashes the value of unused assets by adapting desires and possessions in a way that circumvents traditional intermediaries (Botsman, 2015). Some of the digital technologies TaskRabbit uses to strive against its competitors such as Zaarly, Handy, Needto.com (Miller-Dean, 2019), are mobile technologies as well as social networks such as Facebook and Instagram combined with the network effect (Weinman, 2015). TaskRabbit also focuses for its competitive strategies on the forthcoming of the on-demand economy and readjusts to what clients want in order to gain a competitive advantage (Lowery, n.d.). Udemy, founded in 2010, has the first-mover advantage over its competitors, such as Udacity, edX, Coursera, which launched not until a few years later (Welsh and Dragusin, 2013). Udemy actively utilizes its approval in the consumer market as a competitive edge in the business market by providing communication of its activities on its website. Therefore, the network of individual students serves as a profitable source for the business as well as the individual customer. So, the more customers Udemy attracts, the more validity, it obtains with its business customers (Täuscher and Kietzmann, 2017). Udemy also has an enormous volume of various online courses – 65.000 unique courses – of which one third is accessible for free (Yagil, 2018).
Business operations and activities
Marketing and communications
As the website and the app design show, both corporations focus their marketing strategies on the consumer side. According to Stacy Brown-Philpot, COO of TaskRabbit, three-quarters of TaskRabbit’s business is obtained by word-of-mouth recommendations. TaskRabbit's marketing is aimed at its main target group, busy professional working women who are married with children and want to gain more time by reducing their daily tasks and responsibilities (Lunden, 2013). Udemy's target audience are young adults who are looking for a new hobby or want to prepare for a career change by developing new skills (Wan, 2014). To bring the desired target group to its website, Udemy relies on affiliate marketing. Udemy pays its affiliate partners, according to the pay per lead principle, an alternative to the widespread pay per sale method, whereby Udemy only pays if a user registers on its website and creates an account (Giang, 2015). In communicating with their customers, both companies are using their various social media channels. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are among the most popular social media profiles of TaskRabbit and Udemy. In comparison to Udemy, TaskRabbit has a much smaller reach: Facebook 70.000 (TaskRabbit, 2019) / 5.157.000 (Udemy, 2019); Twitter 32.600 (TaskRabbit, 2019) / 195.000 (Udemy, 2019); Instagram 17.000 (TaskRabbit, 2019) / 573.000 (Udemy, 2019). Since TaskRabbit and Udemy are one of the largest providers in their economic environment, it can be assumed that both concerns are effective in terms of marketing and communications.
Website and/or mobile site or app design
Inter-firm collaboration and supply chain management (SCM)
Both TaskRabbit and Udemy work with a digital supply chain. Examples of components of such a supply chain are the developers of its own websites, the administrators of the websites, the cloud service company where all website data is stored, the providers of the content management system (CMS), and finally the devices of the users who then access the website. Augmented inter-firm collaboration and constantly emerging as well as improving technologies are creating new challenges for the field of digital supply chain management. (Johnson, 2019). The key focus is on streamlining compound business operations and maximizing efficiency. It is built on the idea of bringing buyers and sellers together under a single point of access and purchasing or selling everything quickly, conveniently and cost-effectively (Eng, 2004). TaskRabbit’s supply chain could also be considered as an informational supply chain platform that can be further subcategorized as a last-mile delivery platform. This system is gradually developing in the same day digital business home delivery business environment. Information supply chain platforms are fundamental groups of technologies and methods that promote the exchange of information and coordination in the supply chain (Michael Hu, 2016).
Main similarities and differences between TaskRabbit and Udemy
This report will illustrate the similarities and differences between TaskRabbit and Udemy using a business model canvas (BMC) comparison.
TaskRabbit and Udemy have in common, as they are both virtual marketplaces, that they not only bring added value to customers but also to sellers (Rappa, 2010). The main value of TaskRabbit for the client is more time, and for the tasker to earn some money (Taskrabbit.co.uk, 2019). The key value at Udemy is that its an online learning and teaching marketplace (Udemy About, 2019).
In this section, the report is focused only on the customer. TaskRabbit's target group are busy working women who are married and have children (Lunden, 2013). Udemy's target audience consists of young adults who are searching for a new passion or want to pursue a career change by acquiring and developing new skills (Wan, 2014).
Both corporations interact with their customers via their website or via the app for Apple and Android smartphones. Udemy has a shared app for learners and instructors, while TaskRabbit has a separate app for taskers and a separate app for customers (Play.google.com, 2019).
What both firms have in common in this regard is that they have a variety of social media accounts, as well as both have a FAQ, and can be reached by email (Support.udemy.com, 2019), (Support.taskrabbit.com, 2019).
Both concerns have a very similar revenue stream as they are both virtual marketplaces. Either websites charge a transaction fee (Loeb, 2018), (Kataria, 2019).
The two companies must establish a network of taskers respectively instructors as well as customers, manage payment, do customer service and maintain the website and app (Taskrabbit.co.uk, 2019), (Udemy About, 2019).
The key resources of TaskRabbit and Udemy are the website and app design, and the network of buyers and sellers (Play.google.com, 2019).
The key partners are the professionals who offer their services on the website, payment processors and investors who have invested a lot of money in both companies (crunchbase.com, n.d.), (Sawers, 2016).
The cost structure of both businesses consists of marketing costs, salaries for the employees as well as server costs for website and app, which can get very costly (Webfx.com, 2019).
Things that the companies can learn from each other
TaskRabbit can learn from Udemy in the areas of social media and marketing because Udemy has a much greater reach than TaskRabbit on all social media channels. Udemy can take inspiration from the high diversity regarding gender, nationality and culture of TaskRabbit's senior management, as companies in the top quartile for diversity tend to have revenues above their national sector medians (Hunt, Layton and Prince, 2015).
Recommendations to improve digital strategies and operations
The first recommendation for TaskRabbit would be to advertise the keywords "home services" as well as "housekeeping services" more often because, with these keyword gaps, the traffic goes increasingly to the competitors than to the TaskRabbit website (Alexa.com, 2019). The other recommendation for TaskRabbit would be to do more social media marketing, as only 1.5% of the traffic sources on the desktop originate from social media, compared to 7.55% for Udemy (SimilarWeb, 2019).
The most important recommendation for Udemy would be to promote the Python Programming Language courses much more strongly and to highlight them prominently, as the top three largest keyword gaps "learning python", "python learning" and "web programming" are all associated with the Python software (Alexa.com, 2019). Another recommendation for Udemy would be to further establish their existing YouTube channels, as 54.5% of the social media traffic comes from YouTube (SimilarWeb, 2019).
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