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The City Council is promoting a series of measures to encourage the digitalisation of shops and restaurants in Barcelona

DIGITALIZATION. The set of measures aims to provide a comprehensive and consistent response to the needs of establishments to advance in digitization: knowing where they are, developing a roadmap, training and helping the required investment.

In the coming months, the City Council will promote a whole series of programs and actions to encourage the digitization of shops and restaurants in Barcelona at a time when it is absolutely necessary for the city’s face-to-face establishments to advance in their digitization. and Internet positioning. These actions include the line of grants of 500,000 euros for the digitization of shops with an increase of 200,000 euros over the previous year, technical support and advice on personalized digitization plans for establishments, online training for entrepreneurs and workers in the sector or the study on new digital skills in the trade and catering sector. The four measures have a budget of 671,605 euros. The council is also working on developing a marketplace.

The months of confinement have accelerated and consolidated the trend that was already clearly evident in recent years of increasing e-commerce. New groups have been added to the sections of the population who are already used to shopping online, who have discovered or become familiar with digital tools when making both daily and occasional purchases.

The first deputy mayor, Jaume Collboni, emphasized that “local trade is essential for Barcelona to continue as we know it. And we are clear that one of the main challenges facing the sector is competition with digital commerce, even more so after all that we have experienced in recent months. The City Council is implementing all these measures to help the sector be able to compete in the current context. We play with the city model and a high percentage of the jobs of Barcelonans ”.

The town council has launched a Trade Reactivation and Restoration Plan since the first state of alarm was declared, with a set of measures for the protection, promotion and the reactivation of local trade, aware of the fundamental role that this sector plays for identity, social cohesion and employment in the city. Some of these measures are the aid for self-employed, the incentive for the reduction of commercial rents, the support for the purchase of protective equipment, the reduction of 75% in the rate of terraces until the end of year or the enabling of more space on the public road both for the restaurant terraces and for local trade.

Towards a Digital Future

Once these first shock, support and financial aid measures have been set in motion, now is the time to promote actions to prepare the future scenario in a digital environment, accompany the digital transformation of companies and enhance the digital skills of retailers and restaurateurs with three main objectives :

  • Facilitate the digital transformation of commerce and neighborhood catering and create competitive advantage through Internet activity
  • Improve the level of maturity of businesses and neighborhood catering
  • Respond to the new needs of the digital consumer in the city of Barcelona

Grants to support digital transformation

The council has approved in the last Government Commission on June 11 the line of subsidies of 500,000 euros s for the digital transformation of the local trade and the restoration of neighborhood. This amount is an increase of 66% compared to 300,000 euros last year. The line will also be expandable if the number of applications requires it. It can be applied for from July 22, and the amount of the grant will be 50% of the project cost with a maximum of 7,500 euros per application.

The following establishments can access these grants always be located on the ground floor at street level and have their tax domicile in Barcelona:

  • Individual retail outlets

  • Municipal market stalls. The rest of the collective retail outlets will be excluded

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Individual business establishments providing any of the following services:

  • Mechanical repair shops and services or Photographic and audiovisual services
  • Cotracks and graphic arts
  • Repair services
  • Retail travel agencies
  • Dry cleaners and laundries
  • Hairdressers, beauty and beauty salons or Prepared food and catering service
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Veterinary clinics with physical store

Diagnoses made in small businesses and restaurants in Barcelona show that the level of digital maturity in these sectors is improveable . Currently, a small proportion of businesses have a basic presence or a prominent presence on the Internet and it is not uncommon for them to implement online communication elements either through a website or social media.

According to these needs, the line of aid will be allocated to these four types of projects:

  • Basic or extensive Internet presence (web pages, digital content for publication on the Internet, social media profiles, data analytics tools, or adaptation to the General Data Protection Regulations )
  • Active Internet Presence (digital communication and marketing services)
  • Digitization of establishment processes (Digital signage systems, computerized management systems, online customer loyalty systems or information systems integration)
  • Transformation of the establishment into Digital Commerce and catering (implementation of online sales, subscription to existing platforms, digitization of products)

The aid application can be submitted from July 22 at the electronic office of Barcelona City Council or at the Citizen Service Offices for those individuals who are not required to contact the administration electronically.

Online training for owners and employees of establishments

The Cibernàrium, the technological dissemination and training service of Barcelona Activa, has launched a specific online training for the commercial and catering sector with the aim of promoting the knowledge and practice of digital skills and competencies of traders and restorers. The service includes massive open online courses , known as MOOCs and training courses. self-training in order to adapt to the great diversity of schedules and needs of the sector.

It will include two phases:

  • In a first phase, the Cibernàrium of Barcelona Activa is offering more than 52 free online courses with 130 hours of training structured in pedagogical blocks broken down into different lessons from of related materials, open access documentation, assessment and learning dynamics with a potential audience of 52,000 places per month. Among the aspects it will deal with, users will be able to find training for business digitization, internal management, website creation, how to attract web visitors, internet marketing, social media communication, social media advertising, internet advertising, loyalty customers and e-commerce.
  • Once the courses have been launched, it is planned to create a technical table that will monitor and identify the new areas of knowledge that need to be addressed in order to form the trade sector in the time to specify the customer profile, analyze customer needs, analyze the opinions of experts and collect information and market data that contribute to a better training offer. From this analysis, new contents will be created in the format of virtual classrooms between 90 and 120 minutes in length, programmed on specific days, taught by experts in the field, and in which different professionals in the sector will participate. Masterclasses and conferences with success stories and good practices will also be made available to the community of traders and restaurateurs.

All courses can be consulted by clicking here.

Custom Scanning Plans

The City Council has also created a specialized technical advice and support service to accompany small businesses and self-employed people in the design and implementation of their own personalized Digitization Plan. The support process is aimed at companies with registered offices in the Barcelona metropolitan area, and with a maximum workforce of 10 employees. The support is structured in three phases:

  • 1st phase: an initial diagnosis will be made to determine the level of digitalization of the company and the possibilities for improvement in aspects such as Internet presence, communication strategy and online marketing , use itaction of online sales channels, the digitization of management processes and the possibilities of teleworking or collaborative work.
  • Phase 2: Advice will be provided for the implementation of the Digitization Plan from the initial diagnosis, and the online training that those responsible will need to do will be suggested.
  • Phase 3: will be accompanied in the implementation of the digitization plan and in the monitoring of the achievement of objectives.

The Service for the realization of the Digitization Plans can be requested already through the Office of Attention to the Companies and from the Barcelona Activa website .

Study on Emerging Digital Skills in Commerce and Catering

The BCN Vocational Training Foundation, in collaboration with trade unions, associations and companies in the trade and catering sector, will carry out fieldwork to detect and identify significant data that provide information on the current situation, needs of skills and professional profiles in relation to the digital transformation of trade and catering in Barcelona. It is expected to be completed in the fall.

Another fieldwork will be done in January to analyze the impact of the digital transformation measures implemented in the participating businesses.

The aim is to obtain first-hand information from the sector on what the current needs are, how useful the measures being implemented are and what the future needs of the sector are.

Unique marketplace for the city’s commerce as a whole

As a result of the Covid crisis19, several marketplace initiatives have emerged in the city to which shops and restaurants have been added individually or through certain commercial axes or associations.

The Department of Commerce and the Area of ​​Innovation and Digital Transition promote the creation of a marketplace that includes all existing platforms and establishments in the city as a whole, with products made in Barcelona or promoted by small shops in the city . The aim of this project is to bring together what has been done so far and opt for a single platform as an aggregating space for online sales in order to ensure information and establish effective dissemination strategies between merchants and restaurateurs.

In the same vein, work is also being carried out on a marketplace in Barcelona’s 42 municipal markets, a unique online sales platform. The idea would be for all markets to have their own “window” on the platform, with all the stalls wanting to participate in each facility. This marketplace in Barcelona’s municipal markets is expected to be operational in the autumn.

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