Barcelona launches its own Amazon for local commerce with €10 discount vouchers

BCNMarket platform launched with 2,500 member establishments

2 min
The collaboration of traders helps to consolidate the Camí Escolar.

BarcelonaNew online platform BCNMarket aims to combat digital sales platforms using their own weapons, becoming the great showcase of local trade so that it can fight the double onslaught of the covid crisis and competition from online sales. Barcelona City Council announced on Monday that to support the project, which is launched today, it will add a campaign of consumer vouchers (Bonus Consum) that users can download, from October 18, entering BCNMarket website. The vouchers will be worth €20, half of which will be paid by the town council and half by the the customer. The City Council will allocate €3m to the initiative.

A total of 280,000 vouchers will be made available to customers, which can be exchanged in physical stores. The project is similar to the Culture Voucher already promoted by the City Council to encourage cultural consumption and now, as explained at a press conference by deputy mayor Jaume Collboni, the focus is on boosting what the Council calls "the Amazon of Barcelona shops": a platform where all shops that join will be able to offer their products.

So far, 2,500 establishments have adhered to Barcelona's digital marketplace and both the City Council and Barnacom –the association that brings together the commercial areas of the city in Barcelona Comerç and Barcelona Oberta– are confident that more will join. "We just need to lose our fear," emphasised the president of Barnacom, Salvador Vendrell, who argued that the pandemic has placed the city's shops at a "turning point" that forces them to change the way they relate to customers.

The new digital platform for local commerce, technically developed by Tiendeo and Manzaning, allows businesses to publicise and sell their products and services online with different modalities: using it as a showcase and accepting orders through WhatsApp; to order products through the website but collection and payment the shop; letting the customer pay through the platform and collecting the product in the store; sending the product home, or redirecting customers to the sales website itself.

"Multiplier effect"

Collboni has stated that he is confident that the vouchers, which can be used until 31 December, will have a "multiplier effect" in shops of up to €5.2m. Each voucher will have to be used in the 15 days after purchasing it, after which it will expire. Each person will be allowed to have a maximum of three vouchers at a time: they will only be able to acquire more once they have used some of them up or when they have expired. The initiative also has the seal of Comertia, Pimec, Foment del Treball, the Gremi de Restauració, the Agrupament de Botiguers i Comerciants de Catalunya and the Gremi d'Hotels de Barcelona. The vouchers can be exchanged for both physical products and services.

No date for the Amazon tax

There is still no definite date for the Amazon tax, which the City Council has been studying for years. The Councillor for Trade, Montserrat Ballarín, explained today that they have run into technical complications that make it impossible to set a date for this new tax. However, she has ensured that the consistory remains convinced of the need to tax the activity of operators who come in and distribute their products among the residents of the city. "We have not given up, we continue to work," she insisted.