Retail and Consumer

As trade picks up in Stroud it looks like an 'old-tech' delivery service will remain key link in chain to customers

Written by: Maria Allebone and Andrew Merrell | Posted 16 September 2020 7:02

As trade picks up in Stroud it looks like an 'old-tech' delivery service will remain key link in chain to customers

When Stroud Chamber of Trade included the Bike Drop cycle delivery service on in its Welcome Back Toolkit it was just one of a number of measures to support traders in the five valleys. 

But post lockdown, even with some shoppers now venturing out to those businesses they were previously only shopping with on-line, it looks like the green scheme could be becoming a permanent fixture. 

The Bike Drop was set up when lockdown was first introduced, with local businesses signing up to make sure people could still get essential items. A team of five volunteers travel within a five-mile radius on pushbikes. It was old-school tech providing the vital link in the new digital world.

“After a period where demand for local deliveries started to decline, with customers venturing out for the first time since lockdown, we are starting to see demand for local deliveries rise again,” said Tony Davey, chairman of the chamber of trade, which covers the Five Valleys district. 

“There seems to be several factors behind this - some being impacted by imposed isolation due to potential COVID symptoms and others because of working patterns (upon returning to work) meaning they can still shop local but can’t get in during the day as they were when working from home. 

“The latter is a positive sign as it shows an ongoing commitment to the local high street for sales that may otherwise have been lost to e-tailers. 

“It’s also of note that we are still seeing people, who have been self-isolating, returning to their local high street for the first time since lockdown. 

“With businesses now very comfortable with the new COVID-19 Secure way of working, and additional cleansing routines part of our business-as-usual, all the necessary precautions are in place to make the experience as safe as possible. 

“This return was predicted following the return of pupils to schools, but the return to the high street is more staggered than predicted.” 

Specsavers in King Street, Stroud, now open for routine testing, knows some of its customers still have to stay at home or are still more comfortable with home deliveries. It was one of the first 10 businesses to sign up to Bike Drop. 

Requests come in via text or email before a cyclist is dispatched to the business to pick up the item which is then safely delivered to the customer’s door.  

“We heard about the scheme through the Stroud and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce," said Specsavers Stroud, store director, Riz Choonara.

Pictured: Riz Choonara, Noah Doughherty, Nate Powell

"The Bike Drop is a fantastic initiative, one which has meant that our customers who have been self-isolating and are continuing to stay at home even now, can have their specs, eye drops or contact lenses delivered. 

Sandy Neisig-Moller, who worked in conjunction with Creative Sustainability to get the scheme off the ground. 

We’ve been delighted with the response from local businesses,said MrNeisig-Moller. 

While the project was launched as a direct result of COVID-19, we’re hopeful that it will continue for the long term now and help as part of Stroud District Council’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030. 

And that looks like it could well happen.