Simply put, most Buy Local programs are not sustainable and they fail to take into account the primary reasons residents don't buy locally. Additionally, many other online programs can be needlessly complicated with many too moving parts.
Too often, we preach "Buy Local" and expect people to change their behavior. If residents aren't buying local it is usually for one of three good reasons:
Cost: They might be saving money (or think they're saving money) by shopping elsewhere. Convenience: Perhaps they shop elsewhere because its on their way from work or close to other attractions they might frequent. Awareness: Many residents simply aren't aware of the local options that exist.
The benefits of the three elements above are both direct and immediate to the residents.
But when we preach "Buy Local" to our residents we tell them to do so because it supports local infrastructure and other services… or it helps build a more organic, unique business community. While these are both great reasons to Buy Local, the benefits are indirect and longer term.
In the 21st century residents will usually choose direct and immediate benefits rather than indirect and longer term benefits.
The Buy Local Weekly program is a resident-centric approach that:
The Buy Local Weekly program was designed to be run by a municipality or a chamber of commerce. While a municipality and chamber exist for different reasons, both want to see local businesses succeed and develop new customer relationships with residents in their own backyard. Occasionally there might be an organization that is not a chamber or municipality that would like to administer the program. While this is possible, it would require a discussion between Buy Local Weekly and that organization for the purpose of establishing whether or not the organization is capable of running the program for their community.
The annual cost of the program depends on the size of the community it serves. There is a $195 set-up fee.
Up to 50,000 residents: annual cost of $395
50,001 to 100,000 residents: annual cost of $495
Over 100,000 residents: annual cost of $595
Very little. The only ongoing effort required by the sponsoring organization is to approve new businesses as they apply to join the program and to promote the Buy Local Weekly program in their community.
Once a business applies to join the program, they will show up in "pending" status in your "View Businesses" section of the Master Admin. Once you change their status to "Active" an automated email goes out to the business notifying them that they have been approved and can now post deals. That is the sum total of the ongoing administrative burden. Everything else is automated.
Promoting your Buy Local Weekly program is the fun part. Rather than trying to convince people to browse a yester-year business directory (hard copy or electronic) before they shop or just preaching to "buy local", you now have a machine to which you can direct residents. You'll want to get a domain name that's easy to market (we can do this for you) such as Buy(Your Community).com or BuyLocal(Your Community).com which will then forward to BuyLocalWeekly.com/(YourCommunity). You're also now asking residents to just take a few seconds and sign up for something rather than trying to convince them to change their behavior or go explore local businesses. It is a much easier ask!
You will be given two website banners to post to your website and any partner websites that are also promoting the program. Raising awareness of the Buy Local Weekly program in your community is something that everyone can get behind. Because the program is automated and ongoing, you'll want to talk about signing up for the "Weekly" every chance you get. You'll now have a substantive pitch you can make to residents of your community on your businesses' behalf. Local businesses will now see you doing something for them that actually makes an impact.
Once you have completed the sign-up form you will receive a confirmation message that the form has been successfully submitted and a PayPal invoice will shortly be sent. Upon receipt of payment, you will receive your Buy Local Weekly launch kit via email. This email will include:
Click "Sign-up", and then fill out the form. Any questions in the meantime can be directed to info@BuyLocalWeekly.com.
It really is that simple. Buy Local Weekly isn't expensive and it isn't complicated.
A service of Expansion Dynamics International, LLC