Regulatory influence to urban tech

What are we talking about today ?

  1. We are revisiting the topic of quick commerce (q-commerce) this week (refresher newsletter), following the news from France that dark stores are to be classified as warehouses.

  2. The French government  rallies to the position of multiple city mayors, who want to classify dark stores as logistics centres.

  3. This change in permitting classification is equivalent to suffocating q-commerce since most of the dark-stores’ operational hubs may become illegal or the q commerce business model needs to evolve.

  4. This change is also providing evidence that European cities have gone through a massive learning curve in the past 10 years (remember the first ride sharing apps?) to assess and react to disruptions that are built upon regulatory grey areas. 

  5. However, how will the innovation that Urban Tech brings to cities be impacted by the materialisation of regulatory risks such as the permitting qualifications?

  6. Triple coffee shot this morning? Urban Radar tuns 3 ! Let’s celebrate at the end of this newsletter. 

The city vew

“Dark Stores” are warehouses

The rise of q commerce has given cities new headaches with regards to how space is used and how logistics can be managed. France has responded this month with the decision to classify dark stores as logistics centres/ warehouses. The decree is still to be confirmed but the decision clarifies how these entities should be treated and may impact the operating model of  many dark stores within French cities or fines for those who fail to comply. Meanwhile in Belgium, the speed with which cities’ delivery demands have evolved has prompted officials to think again about how its cities should be zoned which could impact how q-commerce operates.


Public nuisance or private gain?

Q commerce answers a need, for some, for convenience, speed and an alternative to the traditional forms of shopping but for others it can be a disruptive nuisance to their local life. 

Complaints from citizens about noisy scooters, ill usage of public shared bikes and delivery vehicles operating 24 hours a day, excess rubbish and waste, and drivers riding on pavements and blocking footpaths are prompting cities to clamp down on dark stores (and maybe dark kitchens), but those issues can only exist because the services offered by the q commerce operators meet some other citizen demand. 


Q commerce operator withdrawing from home market

Key players in the q-commerce market are withdrawing from cities and laying-off staff. Pressure to turn a profit, changing demand as Covid restrictions are removed, low margins and increased prices, and new regulations such as those in France are all increasing the pressure on q commerce companies. Operators will need to re-examine their operating models and locations, and get their logistics approach right to ensure they do not fall foul of new and existing restrictions from cities, to allow them to continue. 

Urban Radar's takeway

A lot can happen in a few months. The landscape has changed considerably for q commerce operators in Europe during this year. Customer demand is changing. Cities are considering their options on how to manage this new form of commerce. The economic climate is adding new pressures. 

Cities need to understand the needs and demands of their citizens and the rapid rise in q commerce shows they need to be able to respond quickly to new commercial offerings. Citizen Needs from Urban Radar helps cities to understand the current provision of services and identify any areas of deprivation, quickly and with no need for prolonged consulting and research – the data is easily available and Citizen Needs is intuitive to use.

Operators will need to work with cities and understand their regulations and issues with the service so they can adapt and survive. Uber and AirBnB have demonstrated this is possible in some markets – can the players in the q commerce market do the same? Urban Radar helps cities and operators to come together and find a way to make this work for all.

Cities and operators alike can benefit from understanding curb usage and better managing the supply and demand of the limited curb space within a city. Urban Radar’s Logistique Urbaine product can help cities to better understand and manage their curb real estate and operators can benefit from FlexCurb’s Driver App, to optimise their deliveries.

Dark Kitchens are the next frontier to watch. They are called ‘ghost kitchens’ in the US. The success of food delivery is undeniable and many business models have already emerged. 

Urban Radar turns 3 ! 🥳

The adventure to make urban planning 
more data driven and efficient 
started 3 years ago in San Francisco with Philippe and Geoffrey.

Both founders knew that to address our climate challenges, city planning needed to smarten up and be disrupted and gave birth to…Urban Radar!

We’ll be sharing exclusive content in the upcoming days on our Linkedin page and Twitter.