Using the website, customers can offer all the stuff they no longer need on Netcycler, and those offers act as “credit.” The system automatically forms trade rings of up to five users with multiple swaps, co-ordinating the circuits based on users offers and wishes. Compared to direct person-to-person swaps this increases the likelihood of achieving a successful swap. A swap or trade is confirmed when the users approve a trade proposed by Netcycler. The service then informs the user who to deliver the item to and who receive new items from.
Customers can then arrange to meet the person at a defined meeting-point, or use an integrated shipping service to deliver the items. As Netcycler aims to form trade rings from users in convenient proximities, the cost remains low. 'Netcycler Hotels' have also opened up in Helsinki and Espoo, where items can be dropped off and collected.
Finnish enterprise, Netcycler, is a sophisticated online swap shop that has had explosive success since its launch in 2010. Developed by D.Sc. Juha Koponen and M.Sc. Jussi Koskinen, the service uses internet and computer technology to create a 'trade ring,' where goods can be swapped or bought.
The enterprise isa success story in the national Finnish drive towards an exportable cleantech industry, and the global Collaborative Consumption movement. When the entrepreneurs began devising the project in 2008, the primary aim was to find a way to practice business responsibly. The concept behind the business is that not only is swapping cheaper than buying, but reusing goods reduces the environmental burden caused by consumption. The founders wished to benefit the community and encourage responsible consuming by creating opportunities, rather than through fear or guilt. The reason the modern consumerism has such a negative footprint is that 'sharing is not easy enough' explains Koponen. The website does all the time-consuming ground work for swapping, giving away and trading pre-owned items, making responsible consumerism easy, cheap and enjoyable.
Netcycler introduced another innovative way of leveraging the trade ring model, so-called Netcycler EchoTM. The sales price set by the owner of an item is echoed throughout the trade ring. In other words, any other item in the trade ring can be bought for the same price. This is truly a unique way of leveraging the network effect of the internet.
On developing a business plan, the pair were adamant that sustainable development should be prioritised over initial return. Yet, in only four years, this small start-up has made an enormous impact on consumer culture, spurring an exponential global following. Netcycler Germany was launched in October 2010, and Netcycler UK in May 2011. In August 2012 the company acquired Swap.com in the USA, and it launched the Swap.com Valet Service in October 2012. The Valet Service differs from the European Netcycler, trading children's items and developing trade-rings of unlimited numbers of users. In the new Boston centre, Swap.com, users send the items they wish to trade to a logistics center, where the items are sorted, photographed, listed and stored.
Four years after its launch, Netcycler remains dedicated to its aim to provide opportunities for environmentally responsible living in a positive and accessible way. The website is bursting with positive environmental messages, blogs, advice and information. With its tried-and-tested popularity and business success-rate, Netcycler is helping to transform the consumer to consumer market-place.
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