As an avid traveler, I know a handful of people who are big fans of couch surfing. You meet new people, dive into the culture of the city, and if you’re lucky, you get a free tour guide.

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I also know quite a few who will never couch surf again thanks to some creepy unpleasant experiences.

The decision really comes down to the known vs. the unknown.

With a hotel you have an idea of what to expect as well as some basic comforts and privacy.

With couch surfing…you are walking into the unknown.

While they both have their pros and cons (safety, price, comfort, adventure, etc.), they are best suited for different situations.

When retail and product merchandisers choose labor, they also are choosing between the known and the unknown.

There’s the convenient, highly scalable and somewhat unpredictable labor offered by the crowd -- and then there is the less risky, less scalable, but more predictable option offered by employees or trusted labor contractors. Both are great, however they are best suited for different circumstances.

Gigwalk is a great example of convenient, crowd-sourced labor. Companies use Gigwalk to hire from the crowd to do a simple task like snap a picture of promotional displays in their local grocery store. It works for two reasons: (1) because a photograph is the only requirement for this type of retail audit and (2) because the crowd is efficient at taking photos and providing brands with an extra set of eyes.

However, for companies that require eyes, hands, feet, brains combined with a small amount of commitment -- then trusted labor is superior to anything the crowd can offer. In these situations -- whether you're stocking products, managing inventory, or executing quality merchandising programs -- it simply makes more sense to utilize a "trusted acquaintance" rather than a "stranger in the crowd".

So, if you're looking for strangers -- check out the crowd. However, if you're looking to get maximum value out of your network of trusted acquaintances, then schedule a demo today and check out Natural Insight.

Shannon King photo
Shannon King is a Marketing Manager at Natural Insight. She's an avid Washington, D.C. sports fan and traveler/adventurer. Say hi on Twitter @shannonking456