Electric delivery bike – what providers need for success

Uncomplicated, environmentally friendly, impervious to traffic jams: in an age of climate crisis and overcrowded city centres, e-bike and cargo bike delivery services have many advantages. But to stand out from the growing competition, they need the right technology. Here we look at key success criteria for an electric delivery bike service.

E-Bike-Lieferservice - was Anbieter für den Erfolg brauchen

E-bike delivery services in a nutshell

  • For delivery services, e-bikes bring many advantages: They are more environmentally friendly than cars, enable fast delivery even during rush hour and take up little space. That is why both large, supra-regional delivery services and small regional businesses rely on pedelecs.
  • In addition to the right e-bikes, an important criterion for success is the software. On the one hand, this should enable smooth management of the company’s own fleet and processes. On the other hand, it should allow customers to order and pay on one platform and track their delivery in real time.
  • The PowUnity platform for fleet management can be seamlessly integrated into own systems and enables real-time tracking. In addition, it offers delivery services and other e-bike fleet operators highly efficient theft protection for their e-bikes.

Pizza in the 21st century doesn’t come by car, but by bike. E-bike or e-cargo delivery services are in vogue, and not just for food. This opens up new opportunities for businesses. However, with the popularity of bike delivery services, both the competition and the demands of customers are growing. For providers, this means that if they want to hold their own against the competition, they must

  • ensure efficient administration and
  • offer their target group a customer-friendly and smart solution for ordering and tracking deliveries.

In the following, we look at how companies meet both challenges and why a good software with tracking solution is crucial in this regard.

Why deliver by electric bike? – Advantages of e-bike delivery services

There are several reasons why delivery services from brands like Lieferando or Gorillaz are trending:

  • Sustainable: Electric bikes or e-cargo bikes are more environmentally friendly than cars or delivery vans. This aspect is increasingly important to customers. Moreover, electric or cargo bikes can move unhindered even in low-emission zones and car-free city centres.
  • Fast: Delivering food during rush hour? A challenge with a car, but no problem with an electric bike. After all, a courier on a bike doesn’t have to slog through traffic jams, and there’s no need to search for a parking space. At the same time, the motor and battery provide extra power. That’s why a delivery service like Gorillas can promise delivery in just a few minutes.
  • Customer-friendly: Modern electric delivery offers the possibility of handling all processes via an app. Hungry people can select and order their product there, pay and then track the order, no matter where they are – without picking up the phone or writing an email.

This list already indicates which requirements electric delivery should fulfil in order to be at the forefront today and in the future.

Examples of successful electric bike delivery services

E-bikes or e-cargo bikes can be used to deliver all kinds of goods. However, most delivery services focus on food and supermarket items.

Food delivery services – the favourite meal from the restaurant

From pizza to Asian rice dishes, food delivery services have become even more important in the Corona pandemic of 2020 and 2021. After all, they ride and bring your favorite dish from your favorite restaurant to your home without you having to leave your home.

Well-known examples of delivery services

  • Lieferando: For many people in Germany and Austria, Lieferando is synonymous with a food delivery service. The company behind it, founded in the Netherlands, is called Just Eat Takeaway and is now represented in 13 European countries. The Danish version Just Eat uses the PowUnity tracking system for its electric bikes.
  • Mjam: Mjam also uses PowUnity for its e-bike fleet. The Austrian company is Lieferando’s biggest competitor in its home country.

Unlike the big players in the industry – and sometimes deliberately in contrast to them – niche providers like Pottsalat are positioning themselves. The service from the Ruhr region specialises in home-prepared, healthy food and specifically targets vegetarians and vegans. However, it is currently only active in two cities in 2021.

Supermarket delivery services – groceries delivered to your home in minutes.

Supermarket shopping as online delivery? Modern supermarket delivery services make it possible. In doing so, they promise customers electric delivery in minutes and at supermarket costs, a service that more and more people are taking advantage of instead of riding or driving themselves to the shops.

  • Gorillas: Gorillas has relied on bicycle couriers since it was founded in Berlin in 2020. They now deliver in various countries. The central promise: “We deliver your shopping in minutes”.
  • Flink: Gorillas’ big competitor in Germany is called Flink. This is also a Berlin-based company that recently entered into a strategic partnership with the supermarket chain Rewe.

Wasn’t there something else? Well, yes. The number of both food and supermarket (electric) delivery services in Austria or Germany fluctuates greatly. While some withdraw after a short time, new names are constantly entering the market. Who will ultimately win the race remains to be seen.

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Best electric delivery bike and the right software – key success criteria for delivery services

Like any business, an e-bike delivery service needs motivated employees, a vision and a good business plan. In the following, we would like to focus on two success criteria that are specific to e-bike delivery services: a suitable electric bike or electric cargo bike and a suitable software.

The right e-bike or electric cargo bike – robust, easy to use and safe

Not every bike with a motor is suitable for transporting shopping or food on a daily basis. On the contrary: An electric delivery bike service has to meet special requirements.

Important features of e-bikes and cargo bikes for a delivery service

  • Robust: One of the most important characteristics of pedelecs for a delivery service is a high degree of robustness. On the one hand, the bike or cargo bike should be resilient. On the other hand, it should survive “overturns” and other incidents undamaged. This includes sensitive components such as the lighting.
  • Low maintenance: To reduce costs and increase reliability, a bike or cargo bike for a delivery service should rarely require maintenance. To this end, manufacturers for example also do without components that are particularly susceptible to wear, such as suspension forks.
  • Easy to operate: When every second counts, ease of use trumps extra functions.
  • Safe: Electric bikes or electric cargo bikes are very popular with thieves. Even a lockable bike cellar is no guarantee. This makes good theft protection all the more important. With GPS trackers, companies can prevent their expensive bikes from falling into unauthorised hands.
  • Customisable:y An e-bike with your own logo or other type of branding is good advertising. Depending on what is to be transported, two luggage racks at the front and rear or other additional equipment are worthwhile. An e-bike or e-cargo bike for delivery services should therefore be customisable.

Buying or renting – options for building up an e-bike fleet

To build up their own fleet, companies have two options:

  • They buy electric bikes from a supplier that specialises in electric-powered bikes for delivery companies.
  • They borrow the bikes. The Berlin-based company Gethenry, for example, offers interested parties various types of bikes specifically for courier services and the like.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. If you choose the rental option for your electric bike fleet, make sure that maintenance and repairs are included. The more the rental company takes care of ongoing work, the more you can concentrate on your core business.

The software – crucial for efficient management and customer friendliness

If your own couriers are equipped with the best electric bikes, that is already half the battle. In addition, companies need suitable software. This should be convincing on two levels:

  • Management: taking orders, organising drivers, keeping track of your own fleet – good software ensures that you keep track of everything and creates optimal conditions for smooth workflows. Learning software for route optimisation takes into account a wide range of parameters, including the presence of lifts, and thus helps you to continuously improve processes. Google Maps can’t keep up with that.
  • Customer service: We already mentioned it: Customers of delivery services expect to be able to order and pay on one platform, on the computer or via the smartphone. In addition, they want to know till the last mile where their delivery is in real time. A dedicated app that does the whole range is standard for a modern delivery service done by a vehicle.

Tracking and fleet management for delivery services with PowUnity – how to keep track of everything

Whether for theft protection or real-time tracking of deliveries, GPS tracking systems make a valuable contribution to the success of e-bike delivery services.

To do so, however, they must meet a number of requirements:

  • Both in tracking thieves and in tracking deliveries, real-time tracking is a big advantage. After all, even small delays make a big difference.
  • Depending on how large a fleet is, the tracking software must allow an overview of 100 or more e-bikes.
  • The software should be integrated seamlessly within existing systems so that companies can easily continue to use their own app.

The PowUnity e-bike fleet management tracking system gives you a real-time overview of the whereabouts of your e-bikes and integrates with your own system via an interface. This way, you can combine your ordering system with an exact route recording and give customers the possibility to place orders and track deliveries on one platform.

At the same time, your e-bikes are protected against theft by the BikeTrax GPS tracker. It is not visibly mounted on the frame, but integrated inside the e-bike, it contains an additional battery for seamless GPS tracking and alerts you immediately if an e-bike or e-cargo is moved without permission. If it is too late to prevent the theft, the police can track the bike’s location in real time using the tracker and recover the stolen bike.

The future belongs to delivery services done by e-bikes or electric cargo bikes

As a sustainable, emissions free and practical alternative to the car, a motorised bicycle is a future-proof means of transport. E-bikes open up new possibilities, especially for delivery services in an urban environment, to offer their target group an optimal service and to optimise their own work processes. However, in the end only a small selection of companies will prevail that are currently preparing to conquer the market.

Who belongs to this group will be decided not least by the right equipment. In addition to suitable e-bikes, this means above all a good technical basis. With the PowUnity tracking system for e-bike fleet management, companies can integrate modern real-time tracking into their platform. The company has developed the GPS solution especially for electric bikes. This way they improve theft protection, tour planning and customer service all in one.

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