From the neighbourhood to the internet: This is how Barcelona's local commerce is being digitalised

In collaboration with the Barcelona City Council and Barcelona Comerç we are promoting "Re-connectant", an initiative for businesses to help them recover from the pandemic by making a commitment to digitalisation. Odile Rodríguez de la Fuente, a biologist and daughter of the great environmental educator, we learned about the case of two hundred-year-old establishments.

Neighbourhood shops bring us closer to what is authentic. Friendly, personal service enables the owners of these local businesses to build a strong relationship with the people in the neighbourhood. They also sell local products that help to encourage awareness and sustainable consumption. But for many years now, this has simply not been enough.

Times change and so does the lifestyle of cities. Local businesses, that are an essential part of the history of the city, are aware that they are in danger of falling into oblivion. Barcelona has seen significant development in technology, and this programme has become a major ally in this regard.

It is a complicated matter to maintain the essence of 1849 while adapting to the resources of 2021, but Pastisseria La Colmena has managed to achieve this.

With the aim of improving their presence on the Internet, Silvia Roig, belonging to the fourth generation and head of the business, decided to sign up for Re-connectant. It consists of an initiative by the Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Comerç and Endesa to help local businesses to reactivate and enter the digital world.

 

Re-connectant: An initiative that helps local businesses go digital

The aim of the Re-connectant programme is to promote economic activity that was affected by the pandemic and to provide new digital tools for local businesses. As Manel Rodríguez, digital agent for Re-connectant, explained, "Our job is to help and support these businesses that have little online presence and that need to transform at a digital level. We are improving their social networks, SEO positioning and helping them with their advertising campaigns. We are also helping them understand the statistics and analytics involved".

“Our job is to help and support these businesses that have little online presence and need to transform at a digital level”.

– Manel Rodríguez, Digital Agent for Re-connectant.

Bombonería/pastelería "La Colmena", en Barcelona.
Bombonería/pastelería "La Colmena", en Barcelona.
Bombonería/pastelería "La Colmena", en Barcelona.
Image of the bakery of the "La Colmena" confectionery/pastry shop in Barcelona.
Image of the bakery of the "La Colmena" confectionery/pastry shop in Barcelona.
Image of the bakery of the "La Colmena" confectionery/pastry shop in Barcelona.

Silvia Roig still gets excited when people come into the pastry shop and tell her that they already used to come at the time of her grandparents and that the smell in the shop reminds them of their childhood. The owner of the Pastisseria La Colmena said that they decided to join this project at a time when there was very little work. "This programme has enabled us to increase sales and compensate a little for the losses that we suffered during the pandemic," she said.

Silvia Roig added that, although they already had a website, with Re-connectant they were able to improve everything from the shopping experience to social networks. "We never used to sell fresh products online and, now we have started selling things that need to be consumed the same day," she concluded.

“This programme has enabled us to increase sales and compensate a little for the losses that we suffered during the pandemic”.

– Silvia Roig, Pastisseria La Colmena.

The Barcelona City Council is responsible for coordinating the initiative and Endesa takes care of the finance, with a contribution of 500,000 euros. Barcelona Comerç manages the team that provides service to these shops. Our support falls within our Public Responsibility Plan against Covid-19.

Pharmacy "Antiga de Les Corts", in Barcelona.
Pharmacy "Antiga de Les Corts", in Barcelona.
Pharmacy "Antiga de Les Corts", in Barcelona.

The Farmàcia Antiga de Les Corts has been open since 1860 and is another of the 194 businesses that have already benefited from the Re-connectant programme. The owner, Helena Oller is a pharmacist and belongs to the fourth generation running the pharmacy. She maintains that the essence of her business is the health and well-being of people. "This digitalisation enables us to give our customers extra service. It means developing and adapting to what society has become". 

“Digitalisation means developing and adapting to what society has become”.

– Helena Oller, owner of the Farmàcia Antiga de Les Corts.

There is no doubt that these ancient, traditional shops were in need of digitalisation. And this programme that were are promoting together with the Barcelona City Council and Barcelona Comerç, these local businesses are more alive than ever. 

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