Mazone - local and united retailers in Brussels
Organisation : Groupe One & Urbike , Belgium

Mazone disrupts marketplace's rules: it unites small retailers in a network based on shared economy. By mutualizing a digital platform and a delivery service by bike, local shops can access additionnal services for their shop at an affordable price. They get trainings and coaching about digital management and the sutrcturation of their commercial offer. They become part of a community where their feedback matters. Finally, they provide hteir clients with an opportunity to buy better, locally, and to reduce the social and environmental impact of their consumption. 

Agendas addressed
Urban mobilityLocal economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Nurture a sharing economy
  • Create and close local value chains
  • Guarantee equal access to information & digital services
Bike delivery during lockdown

Among the 20 000 retail shops in brussels, there is a big disparity (in terms of density, acessibility, product range, singulariy): the periphery progressively gets "cloned", as defined by the Clone Town Index (

Like everywhere else, "non essentiel sector" retailers remained closed during lockdown in Belgium, increasing the fragility of their situation. Furthermore, Belgium scores is weak regarding digital accessibility, as 54% of the users ever ordrered online in 2014 (Digital Agenda For Europe sets 50% as target).

99% of last mile delivery take place by car or truck, and traffic jams are getting worse. Logistics service providers deal with rising competition, a consumer-driven economy, failed delivery issues, reverse logistics and environmental measures, which puts pressure on the costs. But the Brussels mobility plan to tackle these challenges, Good move, just recieved the "SUMP" award from the European Union, in the category "save walking and cycling". See

In Action
Branded cargo bike used for the deliveries

The pilot was launched in April 2020, thanks to the support of the local administration of Ixelles. The mayor described it as "a solution to support local businesses when lockdown tended to benefit the international chains". Progressively, Saint-Gilles (another municipality in Brussels) joined, and we also received requests from 4 other cities. Mazone unites independant local shops in Brussels by the collectivization of digital and logistics services. First, retail shops can showcase a selection of their products through a catalog online on a marketplace. We created publications, visuals and pictures to promote their added-value, encourage local consumption and present the owners. Through this, together with the coaching and the communication campain from Groupe One, they gain visibility (starting from the lockdown and going on beyond). Second, our partner Urbike provides them with a delivery system adapted to their needs (in terms of price, capacity, pick-up service at their shops, support, etc), so that they can ensure delivery by bike to their clients. By connecting those scattereted shops, they become a credible interlocutor when dealing with digital, logistics and economic operators.

The initative was designed to relocalize the economy, by fostering proximity among actors on four dimensions: 

A) Geographical proximity: the shops we promote are located on the Brussels region. Through the project, we encourage the client to explore his surroundings and live, have fun and consume on the local area. The zone where the 30 participating shops are located is 4km². 

B) Environmental proximity: deliveries take place by bike, in order to reduce environmental impact of the consumption. Also, urbike delivered the packages once a week, in order to optimize the delivery routes and ensure efficiency. Finally, we developed options for reusable packagings and reverse logistics. 

C) Economic proximity: all actors are paid for their work, including delivery service provided by couriers (the real price is visible for the client: 5,4€), digital operators who work for the website, etc...  

D) Social proximity: delivery by bike is usually highly correlated with social dumping, which we wanted to fight against. That is why Urbike couriers benefit from strict guarantees on social security, insurance, steady income (they are paid for 3h min every day), etc. Also, the whole project was built on the feedbacks from the shop owners, to ensure co-creative dynamics. 


Example of publication - 1000 followers on Facebook

The following results were obtained through the pilot: 

- 80 spontaneous applications from small retailers processed, 35 took part to the project. As they were active in different sectors (accessories, fashion, drinks, toys, etc), we could showcase a wide range of products to the clients and take various feedbacks along the pilot. But also, these retailers decided to put energy in collaboration, while the retail sector tends to remain individual. 

- Definition of 1 logistics model based on their specific needs: pick-up at their shops, optimized routes to ensure density of the deliveries and thus lower the price (target: 5 € per delivery), order procedures, development of a network of local hubs for consolidation of orders, etc. In total, 60 deliveries took place in 8 weeks of pilot (once a week), so 5 deliveries per week approximately. 

- 1 communication campain based on the outline "Mazone - united and local retailers in Brussels". We created a visual identity, the catalogs, publications, pictures, visuals, press releases. This ensured visibility to the small shops during lockdown: at least 10 different media mentioned the initiative, we got 1100 followers on the Facebook page in 7 weeks, and the regional state secretary declared to be "willing to extend the concept to the whole region of Brussels". 

Increased visibility 



Mazone bring resilience at the environmental level as it encourages retailers to deliver their clients by bike. From the survey we conducted during the pilot, we know that clients are looking for alternatives for delivery. By putting building a coherent and systemic solution (no motor, reusable packaging, reverse logistics, route optimization), Mazone contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions and improving air and life quality. 

The project also brought relience from a social perspective as it connects the different economic actors: the retailers (that get to know each other and exit isolation), logistic operators (as urbike) and their couriers, together with the clients, the city councils (that gain better understanding of the situation of their local shops), and economic operators (as groupe one). 

The project brought resilience from an economic perspective as it increases the profits for the retailers, but lowers the fixed costs (before the project, an individual shop owner would pay approximately 14€ per delivery. With Mazone, as the density of deliveries increases, the price gets closer to 6€, with 5€ as a target). The mutualized digital platform is also an opportunity to share costs relative to maintenance, development, coaching, etc. Ultimately, Mazone allows them to develop their economic activities, by diversifying their offer and shtrenhening their value proposition. 

Challenges and lessons learned

Implication of the retailers is key: even though they are present online, they sometimes lack of time and perspective to use it optimally. Still, they might reach large communities. Also, their feedback is crucial to adapt the service. 

Implication of the city councils is key: they reach a lot of people through their communication channels and contribute to increased visibility of their retailers 

Volume is key: the more retailers take part, the more clients we reached and the more dense the delivery routes, which decreases the cost. Thus, the service gets more accessible when more retailers join the movement. 





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