Bike to Shop: Belgium's Push For More Bicycle Shoppers
A major National-Bike to Shop Campaign is happening in Belgium. The supermarket chain, Delhaize, with some 800 supermarkets in the country, wants to see more people coming to their stores by bike. They are a major international company and have another 2000 shops across 6 countries and 3 continents.
To kick-start their Belgian campaign in September, Delhaize announced they were offering high quality, Ortlieb bike bags in its shops at a discount price. Looking for them in a few Delhaize shops here in Brussels I discovered that they apparently sold out within a matter of days. Others have told me same thing. Maybe the company has found that there is more customer interest in cycling to shop than they expected.
More Than Just Bike Bags
The bags themselves are actually part of a bigger bicycle/retailer synergy. This is clear from information we received from the two main Belgian cycling user groups, GRACQ & Fietsersbond which are advising Delhaize on issues of quality that are important to cyclists.
“It’s foreseen that this collaboration will be a long-term one,” explains Eric Nicolas, GRACQ’s secretary General.
“Other initiatives will take place in Spring in order to highlight the numerous advantages of cycling (to the shops).”
One of the big changes is that Delhaize plans to install new cycle parking installations and to improve existing ones, on the basis of the cyclists’ advice & recommendations. Fifteen Delhaize shops will see new cycle parking in 2012, and many more are planned for next year and thereafter. But the great thing is that will be quality cycle parking. This will be an important upgrade for cyclists, as poor quality bicycle parking discourages people from cycling . We look forward to putting our bikes in front of Delhaize shops.
A Cycle-Friendly Employer
In its bid to be more bicycle friendly, Delhaize is offering 500 bikes and e-bikes to employees and the company is also offering its employees who cycle to work a cash incentive. (In Belgium this payment is tax free up to 15 eurocent per kilometer.)
Many shoppers forget that almost 95% of supermarket customers could bring home their shopping on a bike. Sometimes you might just need a trailer or a cargo bike – but that’s only about 15% of the customers. Just imagine if three quarters of all the customers in your local shop came by bike. This would be great and one of the goals my project is working towards.
And imagine if more supermarket chains got more people cycling. ECF is expecting there to be 70 million European cyclists on the roads by 2020: that’s a whole lot of potential customers.
Contact: Randy Rzewnicki
BICY Implemented in the Central Europe Programme (www.central2013.eu) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).