A platform for local farmers, a delivery service and a smart parcel and letterbox decided to cooperate in Belgium’s Waasland. The purpose of this collaboration is to deliver local product so freshly and ecologically as possible and with a 100% delivery chance. ParcelHome talks with Bart, the owner of Eigen Bodem, and Glenn, ‘the cool guy on his bike’, from Surplace.
Eigen Bodem is a platform that sells local products in the region of Waasland in Belgium. You can find anything on the platform from apples, meat and honey to Belgian wines, cheeses and organic pasta.
Surplace delivers the orders of Eigen Bodem and other local shops and restaurants in and around Sint-Niklaas and Beveren. The couriers do so by bike, easy and ecological!
‘Local’, what does that mean for you and your company?
Bart: First of all, it means Belgian but also as close as possible. For example, local wine is Belgian wine, but local dairy is from the region. The average distance from the production place of the product to our shop is 10 km. We also look at this when collaborating with companies or people. The collaboration with Glenn is a perfect example of that. The products are produced locally, the courier delivers locally and the customers are from in and around Sint-Niklaas.
Glenn: I am from Sint-Niklaas, for me local means ‘Sint-Niklaas’. So, really close. That means that I mostly work with merchants I know personally. They like it that I take care of their deliveries as they know me and what I stand for. I can extend the relation they have with their customers. For me local thus contains a geographical part but also a communal one.
Why should people buy more in local shops, what are the advantages?
Bart: It is healthier! Moreover, you pay a fair price for the products and to the farmer. Eigen Bodem focusses on biological products, so food and drinks without chemicals, unnecessary aromas and preservatives. In short, pure and healthy products.
Glenn: You stimulate the local economy. It is like the government is asking at the moment; do not buy at the Bol.coms and the Zalandos of this world but shop at your neighbours’ or in the local shops in your city. Often you can find the same products locally and you get a better service on top. Especially when you have a problem with a product, it is not ideal to be on the phone with a customer service for hours. When you buy locally, you can just return to the store.
More and more people get items delivered, also local products. Surplace takes care of the deliveries of Eigen Bodem, more local and ecological isn’t possible. Both startups form a bridge between the local farmers and the consumers. What kind of items do you deliver most?
Bart: Popular products are wine, honey and fresh pasta. We mostly deliver products from farmers such as cheese or meat. But we also deliver chocomousse. These are products that people appreciate and of which they realize that they have a higher quality when they come straight from the farmer.
Glenn: We are the courier service of Eigen Bodem. Further, we deliver chocolate and delicatessen, products people want to pay more for. We also deliver more food and take away meals during the lockdowns.
Due to the lockdown a lot of people are home all the time, that is good when items need to be delivered. What are the difficulties you face?
Bart: During the lockdown deliveries aren’t a problem. After the first lockdown we had to leave parcels at front doors because people weren’t home. That’s not ideal.
Glenn: We always deliver our parcels. We don’t take them back. When people are not home, we ring at their neighbours’. Sometimes we need to ring at five doors before someone is home or someone opens the door. We lose a lot of time this way. I prefer to deliver personally but when someone isn’t home, the smart parcel and letterbox is a perfect solution.
How can ParcelHome support local companies?
Bart: It offers flexibility. You don’t have to make an appointment with the customer. You can always deliver your parcel in safe and dry space. The customer is also more at ease when they know their items are delivered safely and will be there when they get home.
Glenn: As I said before, we lose a lot of time when somebody isn’t home. The smart letterbox solves this problem. We, as couriers, obtain a code to open the box. We use this code and are able to deliver the parcel. It’s fast and easy.
That’s great to hear. It is a good that we can support entrepreneurs with the delivery of goods with our smart letterbox. Do you have any plans for the upcoming months?
Bart: The next months we are promoting a present box filled with local products, as a Christmas special. Further, we want to expand Eigen Bodem and add more local shops to the platform.
Glenn: We want to change Surplace into a lifestyle. I want more biking couriers in the streets of Sint-Niklaas and in a cooler way. It isn’t just about delivering goods but also about biking in itself. It is a way of life. It would be cool if it transforms into a real community in Sint-Niklaas, in which it is cool to be a cyclist for Surplace. And if there is a ParcelHome waiting for us every time a customer isn’t home, that would be great!
Super! Thanks for the conversation. We look forward to get some Belgian wine and local cheeses delivered in the ParcelHome.