BBVA Launches Delivery Platform for Small BusinessesBy José Escobedo | Thu, 06/11/2020 - 13:30
With the aim of helping small businesses navigate COVID-19’s turbulent financial waters, BBVA has launched a platform called Comercio a distancia (Trade at a Distance) for small businesses that will enable them to deliver orders remotely.
In a joint effort, BBVA Next Technologies and a team of collaborators have developed in less than two weeks a platform that ensures that non-digitized small businesses, like produce markets, small grocery stores and even pharmacies that have been affected by COVID-19, can attend the demand for distance orders amid the contingency. This tool is now available in Spain and Mexico, two of the bank’s most promising markets.
The platform is part of the Tech4Change solidarity program, launched just a few weeks ago by BBVA Next Technologies to support people during the pandemic, according to bank officials. Through this initiative, the bank invited external collaborators who wanted to contribute to the development of digital solutions. More than 700 people signed up for the project and in less than two weeks developed the platform.
The way the platform works is rather easy. BBVA’s officials explained that through a simple interface, businesses can register on the web so potential clients in the area can easily find their favorite shops and place their orders. Officials specified that each business can select various product pick-up options available for users. These options include store pick-up or home delivery. Customers have the option to choose the payment method that suits them best, either cash or using a credit card. Meanwhile, the user can use the search engine to locate the shops that are close to their home, either by geolocation or by entering their postal code, and place their order easily through the web.
“The platform functions very similarly to an app once it is opened directly from the browser of a smartphone. In addition, it has a very user-friendly interface, which means anyone can practically use it, regardless of their computer skill level," said the bank’s officials. They also report that purchasing process is standard and easy to follow and the catalog display for shops and taking orders is quite simple. All services available for both businesses and users can be found on the site, without the need to download or access any additional platform.
With the intention of safe guarding the privacy and security of businesses, officials report that the website has been built in such a way that only the minimum amount of data is stored. The platform uses a 'serverless' infrastructure that strengthens the security of the platform.
"With the Tech4Change initiative we try to help small businesses that do not have access to technology especially now that it is necessary to limit direct contacts between people to reduce COVID-19 infections,” explained Alberto Léndez, one of the managers of this initiative at BBVA Next Technologies in Mexico. “BBVA Next Technologies has generated a solution based on our experience and knowledge in technology, to develop a platform that is user friendly, designed in a totally disruptive cloud architecture and built in record time.”
With Tech4Change initiative, one can expect the use of digital banking should increase more than expected. For the past few months, BBVA has seen an increase in the use of digital banking, especially now that people are working from home due to the pandemic. According to reports from Mexico’s largest banks, digital banking has seen a 40 percent growth during 1Q20 when compared to the same period last year. BBVA officials report that its users continue to use these types of technologies. Digital users increased by almost 3 million, going from 7.9 million in March 2019 to 10.7 million in March 2020. This represents and annual growth of 36 percent.
Statistics are similar for mobile users which registered a 40 percent increase in the same period going from 7.3 million to 10.2 million. Mobile transactions have also increased. As of March 2020, 58 percent of BBVA’s sales were done using digital channels. Cumulative figures from 1Q20 show mobile transactions at BBVA Mexico grew 64 percent against 1Q19, reaching 124 million. Meanwhile, window transactions fell 12 percent, from 50 million to 40 million.