August 06, 2015
Many variations of Buy Local campaigns have gained headway over the last few years. Examples include the Shop Local campaigns in the USA, the Shop Small campaign in Australia and the Totally Locally campaigns that have sprung in many British towns. These are extremely important, not only to the success of small and independent businesses, but to the local community as a whole! Local businesses are more likely to support other local businesses and this creates a cycle that keeps a communities money, within the community. This also creates more local jobs so there is even more money in the local community and more can be spent at local businesses. The cycle just keeps on going!
By making a small change in their shopping habits, the average shopper can make a huge difference to the local economy. Totally Locally have estimated that if each adult in the UK spent an extra £5 per week in local shops and businesses £16.8 billion would go back into our towns. This extra money can go into further developing local communities, many towns with Totally Locally campaigns have been nominated for GB high street of the year over the past few years.
The good news is that there are many ways that small businesses can encourage customers to make the transition from shopping at multinational superstores to the high street.
Setting up a Totally Locally campaign within your community is a great way to bring small businesses together to fight back against big box retailers with a common goal. Totally Locally campaigns will help organise events, such as fairs, and promotions to help advertise your high street and the businesses that keep it vibrant.
Some Totally Locally campaigns have organised promotional videos which show off the range of local businesses in the community. This is not only great for showing the local residents what is on offer, but the power of social media can promote your local businesses to a much wider audience and encourage visitors to your local high street. Getting people to know what is available in their local shops is the hardest step. Once you have you shown the community all your wonderful quirks and benefits, they’ll be coming back in no time.
To find out more about Totally Locally campaigns in your area visit http://totallylocally.org/.
Joining or setting up a business improvement district (BID) within your community is another great way to help your small business prosper (along with everyone else involved). A BID network gives local business owners a voice in the community so businesses can work alongside each other to push through changes or events that can encourage consumers to buy local.
BID networks can also really help small businesses to become pillars within communities and give a face to small businesses that the local community can get to know. For example the Bath BID team are involved in community events such as switching on the Christmas lights which lets them reach out to, and get to know the local community.
If you are interested in joining or setting up a BID network within your community check out http://www.britishbids.info/.
Events such as Small Shop Saturday and Independents Day are extremely important for small businesses to get involved with as well. Days such as Small Shop Saturday (5th December) and Independents Day (4th July) are a great way to proactively get the attention of potential customers.
16.5 million people shopped at a small business on Small Shop Saturday in 2014 and this number has been improving year on year. These events also gain massive attention on social media so you can boost the exposure of your online presence as well as your physical locations.
Projects such as Cally are also very helpful for small businesses. Loyal customers are extremely valuable and particularly vital for small businesses to not only survive, but thrive. That’s why Cally aims to give small and independent businesses the tools to create their own loyalty program so they can fight back against big box retailers and build loyal base of valuable customers within the community.
Cally can also expose your business to new customers who may not have previously been aware you even existed. Even though a customer might sign up to Cally to use the local hairdresser’s loyalty program, they have access to all businesses within the local area using Cally. Shoppers can therefore stumble across your butchers and be drawn in by your offers while they are browsing through Cally waiting for their haircut.
The important thing to remember is that it is vital for small and independent businesses to work together in order to compete against big box retailers. Many consumers are put off high street shopping as they don’t think they’ll be able to get all their shopping done at once. Being involved in these campaigns and events will show the local businesses as a collective and by pulling in everyone’s resources, local businesses can appeal to these disenfranchised shoppers by showing them that the high street really is the place for a one stop shop.