Using the neighbourhood online shop

Is it possible to buy online but still support small local shops? Yes, thanks to the “Kiezkaufhaus”.


Germany. Germans like to shop online – 96 percent of them ordered or booked something on the Internet in 2016. In a survey conducted by the Bitkom digital association, one in six even reported that they shop online once or several times a week. However, almost as widespread as online shopping itself is the regret at how small shops are suffering from this trend. People can often be heard saying things like: “I’d really like to support my local shops, but…” The reasons they then give for not doing so differ – for some it is a question of convenience while for others it is due to limited opening hours or a lack of choice.

A group of young people from Wiesbaden also noticed this “I’d really like to but” phenomenon in their local area. What is more, they were bothered by the huge environmental damage caused by the numerous parcel deliveries in Germany – especially since a large number of them are simply returned when customers decide that they do not like what they ordered after all, or because they ordered a choice of several items in the first place. So the “Kiezkaufhaus Wiesbaden” – literally the Wiesbaden local department store – was born. Using the online platform, customers can order products from shops all over town, which are then delivered to their door on environmentally-friendly cargo bikes.

Books, toys and food

Around 30 shops have signed up to the scheme, offering their products on – a range that includes food, gourmet specialities, books, stationery, flowers and toys. Theatre tickets can also be ordered on the website and delivered to one’s door. Customers pay a fee of five to seven euros per delivery, even if they use different shops. The Kiezkaufhaus is also faster than big mail order companies, with same day delivery on orders placed by midday. It is hoped that the concept will take off – the goal is to open up a virtual “local department store” in other cities, too.