How do you balance convenience shopping with sustainability and support for the local retail economy? That was the problem that gave birth to Arive, the lifestyle “Deliveroo” app that connects customers to local stores via a fleet of cargo bikes which bring (local) stores to your door in 60 to 120 minutes.

“We need to change how cities work but at the same time keep the local shopping environment alive,” says co-founder Max Reeker. “Sustainability plays a big part in that discussion but it’s also about how local stores can still exist because online is getting bigger and bigger and they don’t know how to complete.”

“We give them access to an extra channel of customer acquisition and retention with an elevated operations network and a protected brand environment.”

Here’s how it works. The Arive Connected Retail system allows partner stores to sell a selection of their inventory via the Arive platform which is collected from the store and delivered to the end consumer by Arive couriers.

Although the application was launched a year ago in Berlin in Germany the idea was originally conceived in Paris during pandemic lockdowns. Co-founders Reeker and Linus Fries were studying at the city’s HEC business school. They were, by Reeker’s own admission “heavy users of food delivery services” but also admirers of the car free initiatives and lifestyle shopping environment of the Le Marais area where they were living.

Since its Berlin launch, the Arive team have rolled out the app to Hamburg and Munich, securing $20million in Series A funding along the way.

Fourth city is Paris. The team tested the waters with a pop-up over the summer when they partnered with brands including L:A Bruket, Apple
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and Barbara Sturm. There followed a fashion partnership with French based global resale platform Vestiaire Collective coinciding with Paris Fashion Week in September which featured covetable preloved pieces from Prada, Courrèges, Dior, Jacuqemus and Bottega Veneta.

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Now, however, the are launching officially in the French capital where, like Germany, the main product categories are fashion, beauty and wellness and home related with the latter taking in gourmet food and drink and technology.

Connected retailers being added on an ongoing basis currently include a boutique florist, ready made cocktail emporium plus a selection of the unique gift and jewelry stores that the Le Marias area is known for — perfect for last minute holiday gifts.

Later this month comes Paris’ Dover Street Parfums Market and a local branch of hip French cashmere label Majestic Filatures with eco friendly yoga brand Huj, holistic beauty brand Holidermie, Assouline and more coming soon.

“We compare ourselves to a virtual high street,” says Reeker. “Instead of having a central warehouse at other end of Europe we say the city is our warehouse.”

The curation of store partners is determined from customer rather than a category perspective and combines both luxury and mass market.

Over the course of the next few years the goal is to launch the model in new cities — London rating high on the agenda — but in the short term, it’s about connecting more stores so the customer only sees one version a product which is matched backend to availability, acquiring new customers and building out the shopping experience with additional social aspects like shared wishlists and gifting options.

getarive.com

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