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Bringing the sharing economy to your mailbox

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Bringing the sharing economy to your mailbox

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The sharing economy has been fantastic in both encouraging and facilitating the utilization of previously under-utilized stuff.  Whether it’s lending out spare equipment or selling un-used facilities, the sharing economy has been a boon for maximizing what we have.  As the industry has grown, so too have the number of innovative ideas looking to tap into the burgeoning marketplace.

One such has launched recently in Switzerland.  The company, called Pumpipumpe, brings a low technology approach to sharing the kind of items we have but no longer need.

Whilst many players in the sharing economy marketplace are deploying apps and various other digital tools to enable sharing of goods, Pumpipumpe take advantage of something much simpler.  Their site encourages residents to place stickers on their mailboxes to signify the items they’re prepared to lend out to their neighbours.

Interestingly, the origins of the site emerged from the cycling community.  The idea was for people to place a sticker on their mailbox if they had a bike pump in the house that fellow cyclists could use should they suffer a puncture.  Hence the name, you see?

From this early origin however the site quickly expanded to allow residents to begin offering any object they fancied to their community.  Participation is really straightforward.  The site provide all the stickers you need, which can be ordered from them.  You then place the small blue squared stickers onto your mailbox to signify what items you’re prepared to lend out, whether that’s a bike pump, kids toys, maybe even your wi-fi.

The hope is that passers by will see the stickers and realise that the home is ok with them knocking on the door and asking to borrow whatever item.  All very low tech, yet all very community based.  With Swiss origins, most users thus far are in Switzerland and Germany, for whom ordering the stickers is free.  If people from other countries wish to participate the shipping fee is €4.

It’s a really nice idea that shows that if community spirit exists then the true sharing economy can emerge in very low tech and simple ways.  Do you think such a scheme would thrive in your own neighbourhood?

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