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A drive-through service for local merchants!

The exceptional situation early this year has highlighted that French customers are attached to their local stores, in addition to the importance of maintaining social cohesion and the local economic fabric. Thomas Geissmann, a former lawyer who became a multi-entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of GETBIGGER and LE DRIVE LOCAL, explains to us how to meet the new digitisation requirements of local producers and small retail businesses raised by social distancing restrictions.

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Lockdown gave rise to many drive-through and delivery initiatives, including for merchants who were not naturally intended to offer these services, such as restaurants and small-scale producers. LE DRIVE LOCAL was created due to lockdown restrictions with a view to centralising supply and demand and making life easier for users, both producers and consumers. Can you tell us about this project and its challenges in a few words?

In early March 2020, GETBIGGER was officially launched with the aim of widening access to outsourced logistics for all e-merchants. After some promising signs and the first clients who signed up in the space of a few weeks, the COVID-19 crisis and the announcement of lockdown slowed our momentum, like many others. We were faced with a choice: wait for the storm to pass or take action. We decided to take action.

When we saw local merchants inundated with requests and having to deal with burdensome hygiene measures, we were struck by what was obvious: we had the resources and energy to provide them with an effective solution. We set ourselves the challenge of developing and launching a web and mobile application that would enable merchants to integrate their services on a free platform with a view to centralising orders to be collected by drive-through or to be delivered: LE DRIVE LOCAL.

LE DRIVE LOCAL is a local e-commerce solution which enables local producers and merchants to compete with mass retail outlets. Customers can find all their favourite merchants and producers in a single application and do their shopping with a single payment. They can then collect their purchases for free in-store or opt for home delivery. Usually intended for supermarkets, this service offer allows merchants to develop their turnover and increase their average basket size.

What made you decide to make this service free of charge and is this a long-term fixture?

Le Drive Local was created to assist local producers and merchants. There are therefore no hidden expenses or subscription fees; only a 2% admin fee which includes transaction fees. The platform can remain free of charge if a high volume of orders and deliveries are achieved.

In your opinion, will these new types of consumption last in the future, and why?

There’s no doubt in my mind! Drive-though and home delivery services are already used by more than 20% of consumers. They meet time and mobility constraints, and simply shopping preferences. This is why they must become accessible to all local producers and merchants, so that everyone can buy locally. More than nine French citizens out of ten claim that they want to shop with local producers and merchants: they must be given the opportunity to do so (LSD poll for Hopps and Le Drive Local).

Where are you up to with the project today and what is your ambition for Le Drive Local’s future?

In two months, we have exceeded 200 registered stores, 70 of which are in Aix-en-Provence, where we launched our comprehensive offer including Le Drive Local delivery. In the space of a month in Aix-en-Provence, we have generated more than 1000 orders with an average basket of over €50 and a 45% repeat purchase rate. We are now aiming for national coverage including our delivery service.

Do you have other projects underway or in the pipeline?

We have just finished our new branding. This new brand will be enhanced by a redesign of our application to improve the user experience. We will also launch a Smartphone application for merchants for ease of use. We are also considering other functionalities, offering new services to cover all of merchants’ requirements.

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