Digital Evolution: Ottawa and Quebec invest $ 18 million in the retail trade

Economie. Equal funding from the two governments is given to the Association of Technologies québécoise des Technologies (AQT) to catalyze the digital transformation of nearly 5,000 retailers with fewer than 100 employees, with operational support from the Entrepreneur School of Quebec (ÉEQ).

The $ 22 million Digital Blue Shift project aims to provide specialist services to retail players whose income has decreased by 30-40% as 85% of Canadians have been reduced to online shopping in times of pandemic. According to Melanie Joly, Minister for Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister for Economy and Innovation of Quebec, Pierre Fitzgibbon,

Each level of government will make a non-refundable contribution of $ 9,007,929.

Minister Fitzgibbon promised, “In the coming weeks, more than $ 50 million will be allocated by our government, as part of the digital transformation offensive, to support projects aimed at digitizing businesses,” calling for a new economy based on technologies. From the future.

For 3 years, EEQ will have to consolidate its eight county subsidiaries to affect an average of 20% of retail establishments in each region. Montérégie is the second most populated area after Montreal, with 3,836 facilities. The school is committed to supporting 154 of the 827 retailers in Morrissey and 132 of the 726 establishments registered with Center-du-Québec according to its General Manager, Michel Fortin.

“We have to get companies to transcend their territory, and sell everywhere across Quebec and Canada,” said Minister Jolly, explaining that more than 60% of retail businesses did not have transaction websites for before the pandemic.

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Personal approach

Difficulties vary with different profiles and routes. Some companies may have transactional websites when they fish through poor inventory management or an inappropriate marketing strategy. “That’s why Pierre Fitzgibbon and I wanted to have an organization capable of providing customized solutions for us, and that means a people-from-here approach by people from here,” said Ms. Jolie in an interview.

The Quebec Entrepreneur School, which has been deployed in Canada and around the world since 2003, has pledged to conduct a preliminary examination about the retailer’s digital skills and maturity to provide a personalized service according to Mr. Fortin, who announced the implementation. Information platform in the coming weeks.

After the digital transformation of the business model, the retailer must be able, among other things, to respond 24 hours a day to multiple requests over the Internet, to the distribution network, to online payments, or to link with computer security. The target will be sensitized through various partners such as retail trade councils, the SADC network, or even federations of chambers of commerce.

In a level playing field against the web giants

Ultimately digital transformation should allow SMEs to confront the leaders of online commerce, according to Minister Jolie. And it relied on incentives that ultimately targeted twenty-five thousand companies.

“A goods and services tax has been imposed on digital products in the economic modernization. Foreign digital companies are subject to taxes. Negotiations are continuing with the OECD and we have said that if a solution is not found within a year, we will go there alone, it is a commitment from the government.” The web giants, adding that “it is for sure and certain that we want there to be tax justice and that our companies can be on par.”

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As for high-speed internet access, which will continue to be a concern, Ottawa counted on support from Quebec and promised to work on the infrastructure. Michel Fortin added that in addition to having a coordinated strategy, retailers can browse the “desire of Quebecers to encourage local trade or gain a personal experience by contributing to the development of their community.”

“Essentially, small retailers are currently in a survival mode where they are more than at the end of the month compared to the end of the year, and we want to be there to help them see more, and bounce back,” Melanie Jolie concluded. .

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