The corona pandemic has given new impetus to the business model of local marketplaces. The South Tyrolean capital of Bolzano is now opening an online marketplace called BZHeartbeat. Technology partner is the German software company Shopware.
The operators of various shops, pubs and service providers in the historic old town of Bolzano have been working together for a long time under the name BZHeartbeat. The corona crisis hit retailers in the capital of the Italian province of South Tyrol in full – new initiatives were required.
During the corona lockdown, this group of retailers participated in a webinar series on e-commerce from the shopware partner agency teamblau. Here, the retailers should be equipped with the necessary online skills to be able to weather the times of crisis well. In this context, teamblau presented the “Downtown” project to the participants.
Behind this is an initiative by the German shop software manufacturer Shopware to enable municipalities in Germany to use the Shopware platform free of charge in order to compensate for corona-related loss of sales. The project was also well received in Bolzano, so temblau was able to start implementing it.
Full expansion by 2022
In the beginning, almost 60 retailers and companies from all over the city will go online with Downtown. Some with products and vouchers, some only with showcase products, some only with a business profile and direct link to their own existing online shop.
However, the platform should not only be short-term help in the crisis, but should also become a permanent mainstay of retailers. It is planned to expand the basic marketplace BZHeartbeat into a fully-fledged marketplace by 2022.
For this purpose, the individual dealers and companies will be equipped with their own Shopware instance in the medium term and will therefore be able to act significantly more extensively. BZHeartbeat should become Bozen’s answer to the growing influence of Amazon, at least the initiators hope.