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Understanding and assessing crowd logistics business models – using everyday people for last mile delivery

Volker Frehe (Department of Accounting and Information Systems, Osnabrück University, Osnabrück, Germany)
Jens Mehmann (Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Osnabrück, Germany)
Frank Teuteberg (Department of Accounting and Information System, Osnabrück University, Osnabrück, Germany)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 6 February 2017




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the nature and characteristics of crowd logistics business models. Using this evaluation, a new concept for a sustainable implementation of crowd logistics services is proposed.


The Design Science process was followed to develop the proposed crowd logistics business model concept. The data are derived from expert interviews and a document-based data analysis of 13 companies.


Four relevant steps that companies should follow to implement sustainable crowd logistics services are identified. Open research questions are also identified and guide five research tasks, which may lead to a greater understanding of this emerging field.

Research limitations/implications

The present research is based on data from companies operating in Germany. The holistic approach gives a broad overview but lacks detailed descriptions.

Practical implications

Managers can use the four steps and the crowd logistics business model concept to plan future activities (e.g. new service provision). These steps increase the understanding, awareness and knowledge of opportunities and risks of specific crowd logistics services.

Social implications

This paper provides initial insights into social changes in terms of drivers for the use of crowd logistics services. However, further research is needed to capture the social implications in detail.


Crowd logistics is an emerging concept, and this paper is one of the first dealing with this topic generally and the first providing an analysis of crowd logistics business models. The developed concept includes implications for practice in the forms of common, and best practices, and science in the form of open research questions and tasks. Overall, the present research provides new insights into this emerging topic.



Frehe, V., Mehmann, J. and Teuteberg, F. (2017), "Understanding and assessing crowd logistics business models – using everyday people for last mile delivery", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 75-97.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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