4 February, 2019
The municipal markets are not only the place to find fresh products of proximity and high quality, but also one of the reference sites of the neighborhood. They represent the traditional identity and culture, offer a personal treatment (thanks to establishing a seller-client relationship) and promotore healthy eating habits. In addition, they facilitate the reduction of plastic containers and are aligned with the slow food movement. Its potencial is such that the European Comission highlights the case of Barcelona and its urban municipal markets as a role model.
The big challenge they are currently facing is digital transformation. The Digital State Study of non-sedentary municipal markets in Catalonia 2018 states that 54% of the points of sale in municipal markets are not familar with any technological solution, a fact that becomes an important risk because the intensification of competitiveness and the advantages of ecommerce (such as comparing prices and home delivery) can be a threat to the local business. That is why to survive the demanding context of Smart Cities markets will require technlogical investment.
Cities such as Barcelona are working to position themselves at the global level in ICT by incorporating Smart infrastructures in public spaces. The markets will be a key piece for collecting information and improving urban services, which will impact on an improvement in the quality of life of its citizens.
Having automated people counters in the markets allows knowing the occupancy of the space in real time, the map of heat and trajectories of visitors, among many other data. Knowing your visitors allows the point of sale managers to optimize resources such as the staff of the stalls, as well as adapting schedules and avoiding aglomerations.
On the other hand, it is very interesting for stops to complement the automatic visitor counting with Wi-Fi tracking devices to learn more about their clients. Some examples are the duration of the visit, the attractiveness ratio of the stall, the average amount of purchase or the conversion ratio, among many others.
Betting on digitalization will be fundamental for the transformation of Smart Cities and municipal markets will be one of the key public spaces in which City Councils should invest. . Offering data on real-time occupancy of the market as open data to citizens will allow them to optimize their personal organization and improve the the quality of life in the city.