(Photo: Courtesy of AlcaldiaCuauhtemoc.mx )

San Juan Market is one of the oldest markets in Mexico City. It is renowned for offering exotic meats, insects, and a large variety of cheeses and fruit that are not so easy to get hold of.

Strolling down its aisles, you can find stalls selling venison, lion, boar, and ostrich hamburgers. When you get to the insect aisle, you can taste grasshoppers, scorpions, maguey worms, and Chicatana ants.

However, the pandemic also affected them, and their sales went down.  The lifesaver this traditional market needed came in digital form.

(Photo: Taken from AlcaldiaCuauhtemoc.mx)

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San Juan Market and the pandemic

In April, San Juan Market only opened its doors for the sale of essential products with hygiene protocols for its customers.

José López, an exotic meats vendor, says that sales dropped 70 to 80% in the first months of the pandemic. He says that visits from foreign customers fell drastically, as did purchases from restaurant owners.

One month later, the Mexico City government announced the closure of markets and commercial premises such as Sonora, Merced, Jamaica, and San Juan.

Currently, the Cuauhtémoc district authorities sanitize the Market every fifteen days and ensure that both stallholders and customers follow preventive measures against Covid-19. What’s more, they have implemented restrictions so that only 25 people can enter the market at a time.

Under these circumstances, López invited the public to make their purchases in this kind of business instead of going to large supermarket chains.

“If you want to buy essential products such as food, come and buy them in the markets, because we’ve been hit really hard by the pandemic. People were afraid to come and eat exotic meats because of what happened in China. Fortunately, sales are picking up, but we haven’t recovered yet,” says José.

(Photo: Courtesy of AlcaldiaCuauhtemoc.mx)

Digitalization as a lifesaver

Businesses realized that digitalization and seeking other sales channels could be a solution to prevent sales from falling during the pandemic, and this Mexico City market was no exception.

The place reinvented itself with the aid of MyCashless, a company that specializes in electronic transactions and marketplace creation, which began a pilot program. In September, the market began to use the internet with a digital marketplace, in which users can make purchases from any stall and have their products home delivered.

This technology allows customers to pay delivery people by card or in cash, which can be monitored during delivery.

San Juan Market already offered home delivery before the pandemic through telephone orders and only received payments in cash.

Now, the MyCashless marketplace has a microsite in which each business has its own link, although all of them are concentrated on the same platform.