Collaborative consumption and peer to peer (P2P)systems are taking a new turn: collaborative delivery. P2P delivery sites put people in need of different items locally or in faraway places in touch with people who are willing to bring them. They provide access to much needed items to the recipient; new experiences and an opportunity to do a good deed to the deliverer; and make better use of journey related resources and carbon emissions.

What is changing?

The rise of social media has been paralleled by and in many ways enabled the transition from ownership to usership and collaborative consumption, which reflect a shift from owning to having access to and using an item when you need it – such as cars, bikes or electric drills – or clubbing together to buy larger items. Peer to Peer systems are also emerging to support a growing list of activities from finding or letting a room somewhere to securing a loan. The latest application is P2P delivery.

Helping to deliver

New schemes have emerged which provide different approaches to delivering goods.

An Australian site,, puts travellers in touch with Non Governmental Organisations or other organisations which help in their local communities and are in need of items which they cannot get locally. These can range from a football to food to cameras to tents. The traveller gets thanks and a new or very different kind of travel experience in return.

A site in Turkey,, operates a similar scheme but for local people wherever they are, turning ‘would you like me to bring anything back from xyz?’ on its head. The site enables people willing to take something to be matched to those wanting to find something, and to arrange ‘the price’, which may be a meal, a tour of the local area or even cash. is an Italian site helping people with those forgotten items from the supermarket when they cannot get to the shops. People register with the site, and if they discover that they have forgotten or run out of something they need, they can contact the scheme and thereby find someone at, or planning to visit, the local shop, who will buy it and deliver it. Milkplease settles the compensation and payment via the system.

Why is this important?

These collaborative delivery systems extend the access economy in new ways, by meeting the needs of local people – whether round the corner or at a remote destination. They also appeal to the better natures of those delivering, which taps into the growing online reputation and reward economy where good deeds and accountability are recorded and rewarded in kind and in other ways.

Just as other forms of collaborative consumption make better use of expensive items, P2P delivery makes better use of resources by sharing an existing journey thus potentially reducing carbon footprints, or at least making better use of an existing one.

While security may be an issue – meeting total strangers in a strange place or giving your address to a total stranger have inherent risks, so too do other forms of P2P services for room share car share etc. but do not seem to be fraught with horror stories. For now, P2P delivery may do just that; deliver – new friends, new experiences, and much needed items for the recipient.

By Sheila Moorcroft

About the author

Sheila has over 20 years experience helping clients capitalise on change – identifying changes in their business environment, assessing the implications and responding effectively to them. As Research Director at Shaping Tomorrow she has completed many futures projects on topics as diverse as health care, telecommunications, innovation management, and premium products for clients in the public and private sectors. Sheila also writes a weekly Trend Alert to highlight changes that might affect a wide range of organisations.