Colruyt to let your ‘neighbor’ deliver your groceries
Belgian grocery discounter chain, Colruyt, is setting up an experiment with ‘neighbors’ delivering groceries to other ‘neighbors’, minimizing this way the ecological footprint of home delivery. The idea is to provide a platform where someone from your district goes shopping for you with your grocery list and brings the goods at your doorstep for a modest fee.
“We want to bring together two groups of people from the same neighborhood,” Tom De Prater, manager of Colruyt’s Collect&Go division, told the newspaper DH. “Those who are looking for help with their groceries because of their reduced mobility or lack of time, and those who want to earn some pocket money by providing the service.”
Six-month test phase
The platform is called ‘Collect&Go Connect’ and is set up in a six-month test phase with the OKay corner stores of the Colruyt Group, that are embedded locally. The target group is people with a small ‘shopping basket’, looking for additional groceries during the week, like fresh vegetables and fruit, bread, or meat.
The pilot project will be rolled out at four OKay stores in Ghent and Heusden, and three rural communities in Flanders: Zwevegem, Vichte, and Oedelem. If it works, it could be rolled out nationally.
‘Uber for grocery delivery’
Clients can fill in a list of groceries in a free app out of the store’s stock. Next, they indicate the required hour of delivery and the amount they are willing to pay for the service.
On the delivery side, volunteers can register and indicate the ‘radius of delivery’ they want to provide. They will get the demands for their region and pick the ones that match their time and payment requirements. That payment is streamlined through the Colruyt platform too. A kind of ‘Uber for grocery delivery’, let’s say.
“At OKay, our mission is embedding ourselves in the local community, and with this platform, we want to have a positive impact on residents getting to know each other,” says OKay CEO Fabrice Gobbato. “That’s why we are testing it in different zones: the city center, the suburbs, and rural communities.”
From a major discounter chain, it might look like an easy argument of ‘minimizing the environmental footprint’ for setting up a cheaper delivery service, but in the case of the Colruyt Group, it might have a core of honest ‘climate’ concern.
Colruyt is a forerunner in Belgium when it comes to promoting environmental investments. Like pushing hydrogen as a clean fuel with its own fleet of fork-lift trucks running on self-produced hydrogen at its headquarters in Halle, planning hydrogen fueling stations with its DATS24 daughter, and a hydrogen production plant
Colruyt is also investing heavily in green electricity with its daughters Parkwind (offshore windmill parks), and Eoly (green energy provider) and even set up a way for private people to invest in offshore wind farms. But for the latter, it proved time wasn’t ripe yet.