Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site that helps get product ideas and prototypes made into a reality, has had a killer 2013. But does this mean the future of commerce is changing?
Crowd sourcing and crowd-funding has been around for a while now, largely in the form of charity organisations and some early product research. However, the rapid success of Kickstarter in 2013 has helped spread the idea of using the crowd to help make product dreams a reality.
Over the course of 2013, 3 million backers put up $480 million in funding for projects. Of which around $427 million went on to fund 19,911 successful projects. This isn’t as big a growth as 2012 had given the service, but that’s largely down to other big projects – such as Oculus Rift and Double Fine Adventure – breaking records in 2012. 2013 has seen no such comparable success story.
You may be thinking why bother looking into crowd-funding and how it could shake up the retail marketplace? After all, if growth has slowed – some projects are utter rubbish – what’s the point?
However, it’s worth thinking about it on the same level that 3D printers have the potential to disrupt how manufacturers make and sell goods – especially when customers can just produce them themselves. Kickstarter is just one of many crowd funding platforms, with the likes of Indiegogo, Peoplefund.it, Rockethub, Gambitious to name a few. There’s a demand out there for something like this, and customers clearly want a say in what gets produced and sold to them; they even like taking a risk in putting up money in something that may never come to bare fruit – although it is questionable how many people actually realise this fact.
By looking to what is going on in the world of crowd-funded and crowd sourced products, innovations, and ideas means that your business could well be the ones championing the next big thing well before it happens – which is never a bad thing. It’s also a great way to judge if a product is viable for market, showing you an already-engaged base of potential customers for the product.
Kickstarter and it’s crowd-funding cohorts may not be changing the world of commerce, but they’re certainly influencing it heavily. You’ll have to figure out how your business fits into the equation, but it’s not a bad idea to either head there to flesh out some riskier ideas, or to pick up on exciting new products as they begin to take shape.
[Image: Crowdfunding For – Flickr]