Mi Mercado AMG – A Local Online Market Solution

Local markets in Mexico are key elements of the communities‘ culture, history and economic well-being. However, since the outbreak of the pandemic, local market vendors in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara have been struggling to maintain their businesses.

With “Mi Mercado AMG” a digital solution was designed to support municipalities in designing a sustainable transition to an online business model for their local markets and coping with the challenges of a global pandemic and the digitalization trends of retail and commerce.

With the learnings of the implementation of Mi Mercado AMG, a free Transfer Package for a Digital Solution for Local Markets is made publicly available. It includes hands-on manuals for municipal staff (administrators), market vendors and delivery cyclists to enable other municipalities worldwide to replicate, scale and adapt the digital solution to their local context. As the kit is specifically designed for municipalities, it will help you to find out how to bring the digital solution for local markets to your city!

If you got interested and want to implement the Digital Solution for Local Markets in your city and want to obtain access to the source code, please contact: smart-city-dialog@bmwsb.bund.de

The Story Behind the Digital Solution

During the International, Digital Ideas Competition #SolutionsForCities in 2020, the Institute for Planning and Development Management (IMEPLAN) of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara, Mexico, together with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda, adapted a digital solution to support local market vendors in selling their products online in times of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The questions that arose during the competition were:

  • How to design a sustainable transition to a digital business model to keep markets functioning?
  • How to reduce economic uncertainty and the risk of unemployment?
  • How to support the inner city to remain vibrant despite the pandemic?

The digital solution “Mi Mercado AMG” was awarded “Best Digital Solution for Vibrant Urban & Local Centres” and was selected to be supported in its implementation process. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Building (BMWSB) and with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, IMEPLAN has been implementing and piloting the digital solution in the Municipality of Guadalajara starting from the prototype from #SolutionsForCities.

How was Mi Mercado AMG developed?


The product owner of the digital solution “Mi Mercado AMG”, IMEPLAN, as well as GIZ’s team and further local experts closely worked together in a cross-functional team structure and made use of agile methodologies throughout the implementation process. The implementation process of the digital solution was designed in four interrelated phases:

1. User Research

In this phase, necessary desk research was carried out which included the creation of a customer journey, developing personas of relevant stakeholders and preparing various design thinking workshops to get to the needs of the market vendors and potential users of the digital solution.

2. User Experience and Coding

The outcomes of the user research were included into the user experience and programmers started with the development and coding of the digital solution. The idea was not to seek the perfect solution at once, but to follow an iterative process with repetitive testing and feedback loops. After several months of conducting user research, hosting co-creation sessions with local market vendors and potential customers, a first prototype of the digital solution as web and mobile version was built and followed by a piloting phase and rollout of the digital solution. The results of the continuous testing led to a more refined and adapted solution throughout the process.

3. Administration and Advertisement

Since the launch of the piloting phase of the digital solution in October 2021, the users of the digital solution (market vendors, delivery cyclists) received online and on-site trainings in the use of the digital solution, business management and protection of personal data. Furthermore, the municipal staff received capacity building on the administration and maintenance of the digital solution. In the meantime, communication material was produced to increase the visibility of the digital solution for its potential future users.

4. Transfer Package

At the end of the implementation process, a transfer package of the digital solution is now provided for other cities to benefit from the implementation process within their own local contexts.

Results of the Pilot Phase

Around one third of the market vendors from the market Mexicaltzingo participated in the piloting phase of the project. This way, the user feedback was iteratively integrated into the design of the digital solution. Furthermore, the municipality of Guadalajara provided delivery bikes and contracted delivery cyclists who will be able to sustainably deliver the products from the market to the customers by bike.

Throughout one year, IMEPLAN and GIZ have given updates to all International Smart Cities Network (ISCN) members on the implementation process in a series of workshops at the ISCN Online Advisory Programme. This way, all partners of the ISCN were enabled to follow and jointly learn from this process.

Likewise, the idea of scaling the digital solution to other municipalities worldwide has been integrated in the project implementation since the beginning which is why at the end of this one-year process the Transfer Package “Digital Solution for Local Markets” is made available to all interested municipalities.