31st May 2017
Revolutionary new business model Free2Cycle turns existing payment methods upside down by providing employees with bikes earned through ‘pedal power’...
The method in which the average consumer pays for goods and services in the UK has hit a new era. There is currently a shift in how products are purchased and a revolutionary business model now plans to modernise the purchasing process so that products effectively pay for themselves.
In 2015, a total of 38.2 billion payments were made in the UK (more than 72,000 payments per minute) - 3.9 billion of which were made by businesses.1A more recent report from Payments UK indicated that the various factors behind recent shifts of payment methods include:
Finance and strategy development expert and Free2Cycle CEO, Eric G Craig, believes that it’s time to reset the paradigm even further. The concept of using something and it paying for itself is fundamentally different to anything that has come before, time will tell if the market gets to grips with something that challenges the norm this way. This summer, Free2Cycle will launch a ground-breaking behavioural change initiative that rewards and supports employees who choose cycling as their preferred method of transport. Craig explains that strategic alignment has been key to the establishment of this initiative, the drivers are the need to encourage a step change in physical activity and making a meaningful and sustainable environmental difference. Aligning these societal needs with the behavioural
norms of freedom or choice, ownership and responsibility for your own fitness, ongoing feedback on performance measured against personal goals and rewards for achievement are at the core of Free2Cycle’s ethos and strategy. By removing the traditional cost barrier, Free2Cycle believes that it will help open up the cycle commute market. This initiative focuses on opening up new markets rather than competing against established options. Craig comments that, “existing schemes remain an attractive option to encourage bike ownership, which is particularly attractive to higher earners with disposable income. Free2Cycle is designed to be attractive to all, regardless of earnings.”
“We live in an era whereby making payments is becoming easier and more accessible than ever before,” Eric explains. “But in order to evolve with the times - and launch something new that benefits everyone involved - wouldn’t it be great to introduce a system that allows the end consumer to earn the product by hitting achievable targets as opposed to exchanging cash?”
The new business model, Free2Cycle, modernises the traditional product payment process to do just that. It provides free bikes and encourages employees to use them with the wider aim to unlock a new cycling community in the UK.
Extensive research indicates that regular exercise has a clear and beneficial impact on health, wellbeing and life expectancy. Striving not only to stimulate the cycling community, but to also make a positive impact on the environment, the plan will also reduce carbon emissions by encouraging more people to become and remain active. Craig explains that, “strategy starts by looking at the bigger picture. For us, the bigger picture is that the NHS and other organisations are having to absorb the burden that a more sedentary lifestyle entails. Likewise, we are all aware of the changing state of our environment, therefore we need to encourage a step changer in our day-to-day habits in order to have a positive impact on reducing emissions.”
Employers sign up online and each employee starts their journey by entering their planned commuter mileage. Based on the number of miles they have committed to cycling, each employee is offered a free bike of his/her choice. Eric explains: “The Free2Cycle offering has a funding ceiling of £1,750 funded by pedal power alone but customers will be entitled to make an optional contribution lifting this to £2,750.” Customers have the freedom to choose the bike that suits them from their preferred brand, and they then collect it from their local retailer of choice.
Targeting all employees in the UK regardless of income, Free2Cycle aims to unlock an estimated 7 million people who don’t currently cycle to work but could and would benefit from doing so. “There is no upfront cost for the employer,” says Eric. “They simply contribute 20p per commute mile achieved by their employees. This typically equates to a cost of £20 - £30 per month.”
The initiative provides the means - and encouragement - for the employees to use a bike of his/her choice as a preferred method of transport. It is fundamentally down to the employee to earn their bike, not through the exchange of cash, but for the exchange of exercise - ‘pedal power’ becomes the currency.
Experts believe that such initiatives and gestures between employers and employees can lead to significant beneficial outcomes for overall business and productivity in the workplace. Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Health-promoting workplaces are obviously good for millions of employees and ultimately for taxpayers too, so the time is right for all employers - including the NHS - to raise our game.” (3)
The proven benefits for employers who sign up to such initiatives include:
To find out more information on Free2Cycle, visit www.free2cycle.com
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Growing the wellbeing and wealth of Great Britain, Free2Cycle is a behavioural change initiative that sets itself apart from other cycling business models. Stimulating the cycling economy, Free2Cycle is determined to unlock an estimated 7 million employees in Britain who are not currently cycling to work but potentially could and would benefit from doing so. Revolutionising the way in which products are purchased, Free2Cycle uses ‘pedal power’ as the currency. It provides employees with bikes for free and encourages them to cycle their commute. The employer contributes 20p per commuter mile achieved by the employee (on average £20 - £30 per month).
As a central objective driving Free2Cycle, ‘pedal power’ does more than just pay off each employee’s bike; it also helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Each employer signed up to Free2Cycle will receive monthly carbon-savings reports.
Eric was born in the UK to adventurous parents, and his childhood was spent living in many different countries, enjoying cultural diversity. Throughout his life, Eric has believed that doing what is good for others is both good for business and the soul; this ethos guides his approach to life.
From a business point of view, Eric has been fortunate to gain an exceptional depth and breadth of experience as a result of the managerial, directorship, industry leadership and extensive consulting roles in which he has been involved. He is a big supporter assessing what can be improved and what works well which is the ultimate university of life. He also values the skills enhanced through formal qualifications which for him includes an MBA and additional qualifications in Marketing, Business Management and Assurance.
With the creation of Free2Cycle, Eric is able to follow his passion for social improvement in health and wellbeing as well as the environment. Calling on his catalogue of personal and business knowledge, skills and competencies, he has delivered what he hopes will be a meaningful and beneficial initiative to help many individuals and businesses alike.
1. PaymentsUK - UK Payment Markets - Summary 2016
2. Payments UK - Changing Payments Landscape Report 2017
3. Mark Elteringham, Work Place Insight, 2015
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