Madison B-Cycle: Join the Bike Sharing!

While biking usually calls to mind the Dutch population biking through the narrow streets of their crowded cities, bikes are becoming more popular among students in the United States as well. Yet, bicycle culture and habits are far less developed in the U.S. than in the Netherlands; meaning that you actually have to pay attention to where you park your bike so it won’t get impounded by the police. Additionally, actual parking spaces for bikes tend to be few, even on campus, and getting a cheap pre-owned bike is a less viable option than in the Netherlands. Having said this, biking is a very quick and easy way to get around the city or campus. As such, it is rather unsurprising that B-Cycle launched its business in Madison, Wisconsin (and 22 other cities in the U.S.) counting on the just over 40,000 students in the city to be willing to rent bicycles to quickly close distances on the vast campus.

Madison B-Cycle Website
Madison B-Cycle Website

Indeed, Madison B-Cycle is a perfect example of a consumer driven value chain. The core concept is rather simple; Madison B-Cycle owns 35 B-Stations throughout the city and a total of 350 bicycles—at each station there are 10 bikes available. Subsequently, the customer can take out a bike from any of the stations and return it to the station of his choice. The real beauty of this business concept is that the stations are fully automated, run 24-7, and thus do not depend on any human interaction—except from the customer of course. In order for you to rent a bicycle, however, you need to have a subscription; the company offers either a 24-hour membership (for $5), a monthly membership (of $7.99) or an annual membership for $65. Continue reading Madison B-Cycle: Join the Bike Sharing!

Shopping in the future

Imagine that you are walking in the city center of Rotterdam in the year 2020. A hungry feeling makes you decide to have lunch, so you use your mobile phone to see if there is any nice place to go. A personal profile shows you five restaurants and you decide to pick the one with best recommendations. During lunch you check the newest trends in the online stores and place them in your own shopping list, which results in the shortest route you can walk this afternoon. You pay by using your mobile phone and walk across the street to the first store. During shopping, recommendations of stores nearby pop-up on your screen based on your personal profile. Unfortunately, the article is not available anymore and you scan the product with your shopping app. This evening, the product will be sent home. Shopping in 2020 will be a total different experience than it is today.

As the story describes, shopping experiences will change over the coming years because of the change in needs and possibilities of consumers1,2,3. Consumers want to have the possibility to buy products every moment of the day and the Internet will be of importance in this change2,3. The introduction of applications on mobile phones facilitates this1, and will be the basis for the future shopping experience. Research shows that cross channel retail is an upcoming trend in the future retail industry1,2,4 (figure 1).

figure 1

Figure 1. Change of consumer behavior on online and offline purchases. Blue: Online purchase; Brown: Offline purchase; Green: Cross channel4

Continue reading Shopping in the future