Future-proof retailers embrace sustainability

Why OIL’s OMS and bicycle delivery by Cycloon make a perfect match to help retailers optimize the green last mile.

Sustainability is a big deal these days, and retailers can no longer stay behind. Future-proof retailers are all about finding ways to minimize their environmental impact. Therefore, bicycle delivery is becoming a real game-changer. That’s where Cycloon comes in, the leading bicycle courier company for e-commerce of the Netherlands. They’re all about making the last mile of the delivery journey green and clean. Lucas Hullegie, Commercial Director at Cycloon, and Michiel Arnoldus, Business Manager at OIL, sat down to talk about this ‘green last mile’ and why they’re a perfect match, combining OIL’s Order Management System (OMS) and Cycloon’s bicycle delivery service. Let’s dive into their conversation. 

For a better customer experience and a better world

Michiel: “In this world of numerous online shops, it’s increasingly challenging for retailers to differentiate themselves. We believe that offering bicycle delivery has a positive impact on the customer experience. As a future-proof retailer, you should focus on enabling that green last mile.” Lucas fully agrees: “Take bol.com, for example. They have implemented a smart strategy by focusing on the delivery moment. They differentiate themselves by offering consumers bicycle delivery as the first option. This creates a unique experience in the final part of the customer journey; the check-out. By offering the option of sustainable bicycle delivery, you provide consumers with an additional choice—a sustainable choice. Instead of a hurried delivery guy or girl in a polluting van, a friendly and sporty bicycle courier appears at the door. Moreover, the consumer can see how much CO2 emissions their delivery has saved. The consumer ends with a good feeling, which has a positive effect on the brand and the world. It’s a win-win situation.”

"Consumers are increasingly opting for sustainability. As a retailer, you can have Cycloon's bicycle couriers fill in the green last mile without additional costs."

Lucas: “Switching to bicycle delivery with Cycloon means not only having a positive impact on the environment but also on the reputation of retailers. More and more consumers are consciously engaged with sustainability and prefer companies that are committed to a greener future. By offering bicycle delivery, retailers can show their customers that they are serious about sustainability and taking ecological responsibility.”

Cycloon, the green and social delivery expert

Born out of a passion for cycling and the environment, Cycloon delivers mail and packages throughout the Netherlands in a sustainable and social way. Cycloon is a growing company with over 800 bicycle couriers. It started from a sustainable mission: to make the world more beautiful, cleaner, and healthier through cycling. Cycloon has been delivering packages for e-commerce companies for over 20 years. Eight years ago, they started a bicycle courier network, which has now become the largest in the world. Cycloon offers nationwide package delivery by bicycle in over 60 cities throughout the Netherlands. Additionally, they are one of the largest social enterprises in the Netherlands, as they employ postal workers who have previously faced barriers to the job market.

Lucas: “At Cycloon, we work daily to do good for the world. We believe that we can make a real difference, particularly in keeping cities livable. The fact that we deliver by bicycle instead of a delivery van makes a significant difference. With our bicycles, we cause much less disturbance in the neighborhoods where we deliver. They are much smaller than delivery vans, they move at a slower pace, and they emit no exhaust fumes. Although there is a rise in electric delivery vans, which also don’t produce exhaust emissions, they have other emissions in the factory that generates their power. When you have your package delivered by us, there are absolutely no emissions in the areas where we deliver. Zero percent!”

"When you have your package delivered by Cycloon, there are absolutely no emissions in the areas where we deliver. Zero percent!"

Software is the backbone of every online shop

As a retailer, choosing the right software partner is crucial for seamless delivery of ordered products to the customer. Lucas: “Software is the backbone of every online store; retailers are highly dependent on it. The technology must work properly because otherwise, they have no business. Web shops place a lot of trust in their software partner. If a retailer is enthusiastic about bicycle delivery, we also need to get the software partner or software teams excited so they can quickly put it on the agenda. Usually, additional software needs to be developed to integrate a new carrier. Therefore, software becomes a hindering factor for retailers and raises many questions and doubts. Moreover, there is often a complex ‘spaghetti’ IT architecture: a stack of old software solutions tied together. In short, retailers need to overcome a barrier to switch to bicycle delivery. It’s our task to guide them through this process.”

“This is one of the reasons why we at Cycloon are so happy with OIL. OIL is simply a complete solution where you can easily enable or disable bicycle delivery as a module. This allows us to start working immediately with retailers that use OIL platform already. With OIL, we overcome all technical barriers. That’s also why Cycloon and OIL are such a good match.”

The Order Management System of OIL provides an integrated solution that enables retailers to transition to bicycle delivery quickly and effortlessly. This means they can experience the benefits of sustainable delivery without having to worry about complex software challenges.

How retailers can make an impact

Michiel: “We see that many retailers want to offer ship-to-store for various reasons, sustainability being one of them. In our software we’ve been working on integrations with bike carriers from early on because we believe in the ‘green last mile’ with bicycle delivery, just like Cycloon does. Integrating with bike carriers is different than integrating with traditional carriers and requires some very specific features. We often see that retailers who want to embrace sustainable delivery are missing the capabilities to enable bicycle courier delivery. We solve this with OIL.”

Lucas: “At Cycloon, we are proud that we can guide retailers on their path to a more sustainable future. And with the capabilities of OIL and optimized logistics processes, it enables retailers to operate efficiently and sustainably. Together we cycle the world a little greener.”

"With OIL, we overcome all technical barriers. That's also why Cycloon and OIL are such a good match."

OIL as a piece of the green puzzle

Michiel: “Let’s be honest, at OIL, our main focus is making retailers successful; that’s our goal. And retailers are generally successful when they encourage more consumption, which is inherently not sustainable. But what we do see is that our customers and partners are increasingly focused on sustainability. How can we contribute to that as much as possible as retailers? I find it very interesting to bring that together. With OIL, we can be that missing piece of the puzzle to enable sustainability. That’s why we always encourage our customers to collaborate with bicycle couriers like Cycloon, even though they often think that bicycle delivery costs them more.”

The sustainable choice that’s not more expensive

Lucas: “True, retailers do often think, ‘Bicycle delivery is too complicated, we don’t need that. It must be much more expensive than regular package delivery.’ At Cycloon, we strive for lower costs because the margins in the package market are very small. We aim to compete on price since we serve customers like bol.com, H&M, Zara, and ANWB. This means we can offer competitive prices because nobody is really willing to pay significantly more for bicycle delivery. We demonstrate that it is possible: sustainable delivery is not more expensive. Our costs are simply distributed differently, but in the end, you arrive at the same amount per package.”

Modest tech nerds with a secret weapon

During their first meeting in 2021 at the Webwinkel Vakdagen, it quickly became apparent: ‘We can do so much more together. Yes, it makes perfect sense for us to collaborate more intensively.’ And that has indeed been proven. Lucas and Michiel inspire each other; Cycloon and OIL turn out to be a perfect match for retailers. Finally, what do Michiel and Lucas actually admire in each other? 

Michiel: “What appeals to me about both Lucas and Cycloon is that everything they do is authentic; they genuinely want to do good for the world. It’s in their DNA, and you see it throughout the company. They really mean it.” 

“OIL truly has the complete and smartest solution. Many software companies claim that, but OIL actually has it and is also far too modest about it. Michiel and his team are smart but modest tech nerds with a secret weapon. Every future-proof retailer should choose OIL.” says Lucas. And that said, this collaboration holds a lot of promise for the future.


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