How can shop local be better incentivized?
Santa Monica is running a scavenger hunt to support local businesses.
Participants are encouraged to visit local businesses this month and get a stamp at each after making a purchase. Once 10 stamps are collected from the 12 participating, shoppers are entered into a sweepstakes to win $1,000 in merchandise from local businesses.
“COVID has affected everyone in the small business community,” Monzerrat Brunkhorst, the owner of Cafe de Mundo who came up with the idea, told the Santa Monica Daily News. “I started thinking about something we can all do as a community to support each other and I thought a scavenger hunt is the best way of doing it because you can spread people out through several days and all of us can support each other by sharing customers. We are encouraging the community to have fun with it and go out and explore new places.”
Various shop local efforts have been launched in the area as small businesses struggle to survive the pandemic-stricken economy. Businesses are being asked to post pictures of their store and staff on the town’s social media pages. Videos featuring interviews with business owners have been made and stores have hung shop local banners.
Shop local events are challenged due to social distancing, but some creative approaches include:
- Community gift cards: A number of towns are offering gift cards or certificates to purchase merchandise across a number of local businesses. The hope is that they’ll become an alternative to national brand gift cards such as Starbucks or Amazon this holiday season;
- Social media sharing sweepstakes: In some places, consumers are encouraged to post a photo of themselves on social media making a purchase at a local business to enter a sweepstakes to win a sizeable gift card to use at local businesses;
- Receipts-enabled points program: In Iowa City, customers uploading receipts from local businesses worth at least at least $150 are eligible to receive a $20 gift card. In some cities, consumers uploading receipts from local business enter a sweepstakes;
- Shop-local merchandise: In California’s Manhattan Beach, Local Love MB merchandise is being sold in stores.
- Buy Local Scavenger Hunt – Extended! – Café de Mundo
- Buy Local launches new scavenger hunt and giveaways – Santa Monica Daily News
- ‘Local Love MB’ campaign launched in hopes of helping struggling businesses – easyreadernews.com
- Chamber launches ‘buy local’ contest – The Grove Examiner
- Los Alamos Chamber, MainStreet Urge Community To Buy Gift Cards To Local Businesses Through New ‘Buy Local’ Campaign – Los Alamos Reporter
- ‘Buy El Paso’ campaign aims to sell merits of local businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic – El Paso Times
- Visitors getting $25 gift cards from Aspen chamber, lodges – Aspen Daily News
- Iowa City Downtown District implements new gift card incentive program – The Daily Iowan
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What creative solutions do you see helping to amplify efforts around shop local campaigns? What are often the shortcomings or challenges in collectively executing such campaigns?