In Germany, a startup is giving people the convenience of purchasing items online and having them delivered - but allowing them to support neighborhood stores at the same time.
Thanks to the internet, you can now order anything you might desire through sites like Amazon and have it delivered to your house within days. But to what extent does that affect local businesses, your community, and even your own wallet?
As FastCoexist shares, although convenient, online shopping usually undercuts local businesses and creates a massive carbon footprint. For these reasons, a German startup is testing a new model to offset such disadvantages: An online shop that only features local stores while also offering same-day delivery by cargo bike (by senior citizens – read below).
The startup, called Kiezkaufhaus (which translates to “neighborhood department store”), was born when project-leader Nanna Beyer noticed a huge problem with online delivery services: The products had to be delivered by truck, often over hundreds of miles, emitting tons of climate-changing carbon dioxide in the process.
“There’s an armada of trucks on the German roads delivering all of that stuff,” Beyer says. “Even more, 800,000 packages are returned—daily. That’s around 400 tons of CO2. Not including the waste of packaging.”
But with the new model of the design firm, local stores are able to join in a cooperative and own an equal share of the online platform. And the agency – which created the project on the side as a way to contribute to the community – also earns 10% of sales. As few as 40 sales a day can allow the platform to break even.
Consumers also benefit from the innovative model; it’s a chance to keep small businesses they love open and to ensure proceeds from sales tax circulate in the community.
Said Beyer, “We all know the feeling of frustration if another of our beloved shops closes down. Our cities more and more look the same, plastered with the same stores of the same brands. A single store cannot afford to join the digital and age set up city logistics to compete. But a network of stores can. That’s what Kiezkaufhaus is.”
And as the title promised, elder residents deliver the goods on bikes to residents the same day orders are placed.
“They love to ride bikes, it’s healthy,” Beyer stated. “Then, we wanted to integrate them in society in a way that gives them a vital role. At Kiezkaufhaus, they are the central interface to the customer. They deliver to your doorstep. The cargo bikes are real eye candy if you see them riding in the streets. Heads turn. It’s kind of cool that seniors drive them, not the typical digital native hipster.”
Whether you’re enamored by the German model or enthusiastic that elder citizens happily deliver the local goods on bikes, please share this article so others might be inspired by the good being done by Kiezkaufhaus.
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