Particularly commuters who travel by train every day know the situation: you often forget something at home, which means you quickly need to stop at a shop at your destination. Usually it’s trivial everyday things. A gift for a colleague perhaps or coffee for the machine at work. Nothing dramatic, but nevertheless important enough that you wouldn’t like to go without it.
That’s why everyone is immediately excited when they hear about the idea of the DB OneStopShop. Not surprisingly, then it allows you to have important items delivered to your travel destination. This idea was turned into an innovative shopping experience by a team at DB Systel that develops new business models and services. It serves as a tangible example of “Station 4.0”: the new digital traffic and economic centre of cities, where Deutsche Bahn wants to be perceived as a central broker in the area of mobility and consumption. And with DB OneStopShop, a test balloon has already been launched.
Delivery address: locker
The principle is very simple: As with nearly all online shops, DB OneStopShop allows you to select and add different items to a shopping basket while you are on the move. But instead of having these delivered to your home, you simply select a locker in a station as the delivery address.
The items are normally delivered within a short period of time, allowing almost every connection to become a real shopping experience. The range of items to be offered is still to be finalized. However, tests will be conducted first to determine how this service will be received by customers – and which items are in demand. Nothing would prevent more items being added to the product range later. It would even be possible to equip lockers with a cooling system.
It is likely that customers will initially be able to order everyday products, but various gift items are also being considered for the test phase. But no matter the order placed: customers will receive notification of any change to the delivery status. And what’s more, when customers arrive at the station, they can be directed to the corresponding locker even via their smartphone. With a personalised QR code, a smartphone can be used to open the door. The Clou: Despite a low delivery charge, the articles should not be much more expensive than if purchased from a supermarket.
There are also many other benefits of DB OneStopShop: customers can buy their required articles online, when and where they want – without standing in long queues at the checkout. They also don’t have to wait for a parcel service. The lockers can be accessed at any time, which means you neither have to pick up your order from a post office nor a neighbour. However, there is also a very pragmatic reason for shopping in this way: you travel with lighter luggage.
Strong partners for a wide selection
At DB Systel, all functions were initially created with a laboratory prototype and tested extensively. Testing will now take place under live conditions at train stations. Of course, DB Systel itself is not the retailer in this pilot project, but the infrastructure provider. We are currently in talks with potential retailers. What is certain is that only experienced trading partners are being considered. A range of different partnerships are conceivable – even with existing retailers operating at train stations. DB OneStopShop must not be perceived as the competition, but as another way of offering passengers the best service.
But until then, the service will be tested in two train stations to determine how it is accepted. DB Systel is currently assessing which stations to choose for the pilot project. The stations must have a high turnover of passengers to allow a good assessment of how well the system will work throughout Germany. In other words: If everything works smoothly at the test train stations, there will certainly be no surprises in smaller stations.
Once the test phase has been completed successfully, the new shopping experience can also be launched at other stations within a short space of time. Technically, it would be relatively easy to convert existing lockers into ones for DB OneStopShop and connect them to the system developed by DB Systel.
The burden of work is increasing more and more, especially time pressure. Integrating shopping into everyday life ensures a healthy work-life balance – and DB OneStopShop could be an important mosaic stone for this. So, whoever wants to shop in the future while travelling home or shortly before arriving at work can do so quite comfortably, directly from their train seat.
Perhaps DB Bahn will soon take care of the rest.