Includes digital delivery and back to glass

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Lille (AFP) – At the wheel of a fresh-butter yellow electric truck, Corentin Belot crosses the outskirts of Lille for his second ride of the day, laden with taped drinks he lays on doorsteps.

This delivery model is again becoming popular on French soil, thanks to digital technology.

Le Fourgon – which employs this 29-year-old delivery driver from Tourquen – offers several daily delivery slots, which can be booked online by geographic area. On his smartphone, Corentin then has to follow an optimized route according to the different stopping points, in less time and circumference.

This little shoot, barely a year old, highlights the “no waste” associated with “no restrictions”: customers receive their drink boxes in exchange for empty containers of their previous orders.

A concept that particularly appeals to families.

This Tuesday, at La Chapelle d’Armentières, Olivier Gaillegue is replenishing his stock of whole milk and apple juice. Five people in the house suffer from “too much plastic” and “trash cans overflowing quickly,” the fifty-year-old explains.

“Moreover, it’s not more expensive than driving,” adds this man, who previously used to take his car for heavy, massive races.

Lille’s little shot gets 85% of its offer at supermarket prices, not to mention a deposit of around five euros per case of a dozen bottles.

Many products – juice, milk, mineral water, beer, etc. – come from the region or from nearby Belgium, where the deposit rules.

But Le Fourgon also offers consumer brands, which can’t be cheaper than supermarkets.

Delivery by tour was practiced by breweries or dairies before it was undermined by the arrival of single-use plastic packaging, preferred over deposit for reuse.

Its revival in peri-urban areas does not rival the offerings of ultra-fast delivery – “express commerce” – which are developing in large city centres.

why now ? The environmental question is at the heart of the concerns, and digital “improves the delivery and logistics of an already proven system,” as consumption expert Philip Goetzman notes.

Registered Beverage Deliverer, May 3, 2022 in Haubourdin, on the outskirts of Lille Denis Charlet, Agence France-Presse

But this economic model can only operate over short distances including local players who are depositing in order to maintain an efficient carbon footprint.

– reduced costs –

The Van attracted nearly 7,000 customers in France in one year, with six delivery centers serving Lille, Dunkirk, and several cities in the mining region, Nantes and then soon Amiens and Rennes.

According to Clément Génelot, distribution specialist at Bryan, Garnier & Co, the tour’s economic model allows it to “be profitable before others”, by reducing delivery costs.

Conversely, ‘express trade’, or traditional delivery to large distribution, must result in higher amortization costs.

Registered Beverage Deliverer, May 3, 2022 in Haubourdin, on the outskirts of Lille
Registered Beverage Deliverer, May 3, 2022 in Haubourdin, on the outskirts of Lille Denis Charlet, Agence France-Presse

Paris? “Not in our strategy,” asserts Charles Christori, co-founder of Le Fourgon: Traffic and parking problems would disrupt the smooth flow of rides.

Good account, according to Clement Genillot, who advised these new players to avoid “the Ile-de-France or Rhône-Alpes region, which will soon be attacked by big players like Picnic”.

This Dutch company adapted the flight model in its home country, before spreading to Germany and northern France, but with a supermarket-worthy offering, ranging from fresh produce to hygiene products.

It is boxing in another category, with a turnover of €1 billion in 2021, which it intends to “double in 2022,” according to Gregoire Borgolts, Picnic’s head of expansion in France.

Players similar to Le Fourgon are beginning to appear in France, such as Le Marché Moderne in Lille and La Tournée.

Launched at the end of 2021, the latter serves eighteen affordable cities in the west of the capital and offers supermarket-type organic drinks, but also laundry detergent, with the aim of expanding its offering in the future.

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