shopping local

Local shopping campaigns reaping rewards

Many traders associations and industry groups are catching on to the fact that consumers want to support local businesses.

As Indie Bound, a group promoting independent bookstores, says

Consumers in Australia today are aware of the importance of independent businesses and the health of the high street. The growth of farmers markets, the Transition Town movement and many other campaigns show how important it is to consumers to shop locally.

And there’s some other great examples of businesses banding together to help consumers decide where it’s best to spend their money.

Last year in South Australia, retailers are being encouraged to offer customers a special discount or deal, which were advertised free of charge in The Advertiser each Monday. Retailers also receive a ‘Shop in SA’ pack to display in store.

‘Our ‘Shop in SA’ campaign aims to help our local retailers and advertisers by encouraging our consumers to shop SA this Christmas and support the businesses that support our state,’ Sunday Mail editor Megan Lloyd said said. ‘We had a fantastic response to the campaign. So far 850 businesses have signed up and will be offering our readers discounts and deals in the weeks leading up to Christmas,’ Lloyd said in November 2012.

The Bega Valley in southern NSW has also been working with local newspapers to support local businesses.

‘I put this together to ensure the public are aware of the plight of retailers versus Internet,’ Robert Hayson, president of the Combined Bega Valley Chambers of Commerce explained.

They are now aiming to involve schools.

‘We’ve approached the schools in the Bega Valley Shire and they’re coming on board to aid the retailers. They’re enthusiastic to do posters and to help educate the public of the importance of shopping local.’

In the US, The Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Local First have partnered to form a two year pilot program to increase awareness of the economic impact of supporting local businesses, while gathering data that could lead to new or improved small business support programs.

‘There is a strong history of successful business entrepreneurialism in this region that has been lost in many other places around the country. We need to retain this culture,’ said Emily Loeks, director of community relations at Grand Rapids Celebration! Cinema and Local First board vice chair. ‘We can do this by naming it, by asking business leaders to share best sustainable business practices with each other and new entrepreneurs and by making the choice more clear to consumers. Local First champions each of these objectives.’

‘Locally owned independent businesses are the foundation of a healthy, vibrant economy,’ MEDC President and CEO Michael Finney said. ‘We are pleased to support Local First’s efforts to strengthen Michigan-based businesses and to grow our regional economies.’

So how are you going to help your local consumers support local businesses? Of course, we can always help! Email us anytime for a consultation.

exploring the impact of a local lifestyle

Start local – the movie

Such is the interest in shopping locally and what results it can bring to local economies, that two Canadian film makers are set to document it.

Nate Lacroix and Ashley Matt are setting out to discover what it really means to shop locally in this feature length documentary about a small community in Ontario. The film will primarily take place in Midland and the surrounding Huronia region, where many residents are now returning to the idea of a locally based economy to combat hard economic times.

Start Local will not only examine the economic impact of shopping locally, but will also attempt to uncover the social implication it has on a community.

The pair are excited about the progress the film is already making “The film will take place in our home town, however we hope it will serve as an inspiring example of what other towns around the globe can do to become more locally focused.”

But the movie still needs to be made, and the filmmakers are asking for people’s help with a crowdfunding platform. It’s a nifty idea that we’ve talking about before, and there’s film credits up for grabs. Check it out here:


There’s a great number of reasons to buy locally. This fabulous blog from a family attempting to buy locally for 365 days sites:

A June 2010 study released by Local First Arizona found that SCF Arizona’s ‘buy local’ attitude leads to $528 million economic impact as they switched to sourcing 82% of its goods and services from other Arizona companies.

A 2007 San Francisco retail diversity study analyzes the market share of several categories as to what percentage is held by chains or locally-owned businesses. It then calculates that if 10% of spending were shifted from chains to locals it would increase economic output by almost $192 million, create almost 1,300 new jobs, provide almost $72million in new income for workers, and create over $15 million in additional retail activity.

Where have you been spending lately? To find out more about how you can shop locally, sign up to our enews or like our facebook page.

Statistics. Boring? No way! Insightful if you know what to look for

It’s crucial that you understand what’s happening in your business. We all know that. So accessing meaningful stats can be huge in helping with your decision making.

We’ve tracked down a few interested pieces of statistical info that could help you.

Your Suburb Your people

Recruiters SMAART Recruitment put together a snapshot report of their local council area – Monash. It’s a very comprehensive but incredibly easy to absorb report. Really handy for showing you what happening in your local area, with business and the population. It shows you exactly what understanding and applying the right stats can do. It even goes through the social media uptake of the big local businesses. Contact James for a copy.


.id Population experts

These guys are the experts in populations statics. The team’s latest project has been building highly detailed population forecasts for the whole of Victoria, NSW and the ACT at the CCD (Census Collection District) level and smaller.  They can help you understand and apply stats.


Independent we stand

This is US based but an interesting idea and could be applied here. If every household in your neighbourhood spent $10 more locally, what would that equate too? Seeing the figure makes it worth fighting for. Hint: for the Australian version, enter your postcard on the ABS Census page (see below) to get your household numbers then times it by 10 and that’s the extra yearly spend possible if every household spent $10 locally. Feel free to share your $ amount in the comments below for inspiration.


ABS Census

And of course the mother of all statistical sites – the ABS. The census data site is so helpful to pin down who your neighbours are. Click on the map to narrow down your selection and you can even search by postcode. This is your first port of call for starting on your statistical journey to understanding your customers, your business or  your local area. Dive in and see what you find out.


We would love to take some of the work done in the US on analyzing a local businesses impact on the local economy and apply it to Australian circumstances. Do you know an economist who’d love to take on this challenge with us? Feel free to get in touch and let’s see how we can partner.

What the first day of school has to do with your business and attracting visitors

I’ve just had an extraordinary week. My eldest started school. It’s huge – the fear of being able to find new friends, the panic at not knowing what goes where and the hope that the teacher will be awesome. Yep, it’s tough on the parents!

My son was fine, completely and utterly content to wave us goodbye and go off to begin his educational journey. All while we still hovered nervously at the door.

So why was he so happy to be there? There’s a few reasons that this small child didn’t feel like a ‘visitor’ in a strange place, but it felt like home, and I think there’s a huge opportunity to take those reasons and apply them to visitors to our places of business:

1. Welcome

Firstly the teachers greet each student as they come in the door – with enthusiasm. It makes a huge difference when you feel wanted and appreciated by the people you meet when you go somewhere new. They even sent him a Christmas card saying they were looking forward to seeing him in the new year. How are you welcoming your visitors, and showing your appreciation that they are there to share the day with you? Can you follow up on that at different times of the year?

2. Preparation and setting expectations

There was a lead up to the big first day. It made all the difference. Friday afternoon sessions at the school to familiarise himself with the teachers, the routine and the layout of the place were involved. There was even a welcome barbecue for students and parents. Everyone has to learn to trust new people, new things, new places. So are there ways you can introduce your place or your business to your customer before they visit you? If your website or brochure is an introduction, does it give a good picture of what people can expect when they arrive?

3.  Fun and exploration

The first part of the day at my son’s school is called ‘Exploring time’. They pick a subject they want to learn more about that week and they go for it. It encourages responsibility for their own learning, developing their interests, and it’s fun. Are there things you could be doing that engage people’s interests, allow them to explore deeper and have a lot of fun?

It’s already been a great experience for me to see the difference starting school is making to my boy’s life. Proving that we never stop learning, it’s taught me a few things about myself as well (like how organised I need to be in the morning!). If school continues to be as fun, provide that sense of belonging and set clear expectations, I think this boy’s school days are going to be truly awesome. And don’t we all want to experience that everyday, whether at work or visiting new places?