1. How would you characterize the service that Zipcar provides? Why does Zipcar exist? What consumer needs was it designed to meet? Which firms are its competitors?
Zipcar is in a nut shell a US headquartered car membership based car sharing program that provides automobile reservation and use to its members. This concept started in Boston by two entrepreneurs named Robin Chase and Antje Danielson in the end of 1999. This year 2013, a deal was struck where Avis Budget Group acquired Zipcar for $500 million in cash, becoming a subsidiary of the group. The company provides a great service to its members by being able to let them reserve a car a year or even minutes in advance charging an ...view middle of the document...
Companies such as Entreprise, which in my perspective is the closest peer to peer competitor, have announced car membership sharing campaigns. Other companies such as Uhaul, Carpingo, Cars2go and others have almost the same concept but what might vary is the car type/model and obviously locations. They are also other forms of car sharing services offered by companies that can really be a good competitor to Zipcar. These companies offer members privately owned vehicles that are shared/loaned to them and used for a couple of hours for a fee, paid directly to the owner of the vehicle and probably pay a commission to the company. Any company where someone needs to pay for a use a vehicle/automobile is a competitor of Zipcar.
2. What is the customer motivation for choosing Zipcar? Do you agree that Zipcar is a very large move towards self- service (that the customers are having their operating role as customers being expanded, and they require no benefits or salaries to be paid)? Please explain your thoughts on this.
Customers are motivated by Zipcar because of its convenience and reliance. As mentioned before, once you become a member of Zipcar you feel that you are indeed an owner of a vehicle. Also, not having to worry about parking the car when you are finished with it, insurance and monthly car payments are all the benefits and motivation the average young adult who lives in the city must have to become a member of Zipcar. It really is a win-win situation for the person who is constantly on the go, who likes taking public transportation and occasionally needs a vehicle to resolve issues.
Zipcar’s services can be described as a large move forward towards self-service. Members really have to do some tasks, but these tasks are not far from the tasks done when doing a traditional car rental. Filling up gas towards the required amount once the car is returned, leaving the car parked in the same spot/same way it was parked and paying high fees for any penalties or late return are all of the same tasks when choosing Zipcar. Although there is some difference when being a member of Zipcar, you really do not have to deal with lines or other people in the back of the counter as well as wait for an employee to bring you the car around from the parking lot. The experience in a way is the same from renting a car but different because it is more of self-service rent a car.
In my view, Zipcar self-service model has its advantages and disadvantages, first your really do not have to deal with any disgruntle employee when taking out a car, with this concept you are doing it all by yourself. Second, you have even better options to take different types of cars with Zipcar than a normal rent a car (type, color, model, etc.). On the other hand, there are many disadvantages of using Zipcar. First, it can be a little more expensive than conventional car rentals. Per day traditional car rentals are definitely more inexpensive, but per hour rentals Zipcar has...