The last several years have been tumultuous ones for small businesses in America. The spread of big box stores has caused a slow leak of business from mom-and-pop businesses for decades, and the recent recession added a forceful wallop.
But even as many small businesses saw revenue dry up, the ranks of small-business owners swelled as millions of laid off and displaced workers launched their own independent firms. Today, more than 40 million Americans work for themselves, and analysts expect that number to rise to 40 percent of the total workforce by 2019.
As more and more of us have observed these shifts, a new mindset has emerged: the Shop Local movement encourages people around the United States to spend their money at locally owned shops rather than chains to boost the local economy and the business owners behind it.
Supporting Local Business in Mobs
Unsurprisingly, the Shop Local movement has found energy and organization on the Internet through the power of so-called cash mobs. These events…
- Are organized through Twitter and other social media channels.
- Bring people together to shop in locally owned shops on a given day and time. They often include an invitation to eat or drink at a local restaurant afterwards.
- Can be organized anywhere in the country, by any interested party. The tools on cash-mobs.com provide a useful starting point.
Bringing a Cash Mob to Your Business
So how can you bring a stream of customers to your business (and others in your area) through a cash mob? Be sure to have a plan in place to take full advantage of any event you plan, from start to finish, including…
- How to advertise the cash mob. Cash mobs (called “dish mobs” when they focus on bringing local business to restaurants) are festive events for everyone involved. To attract as many shoppers as possible, be sure to advertise the event, both inside and out of your store. You can use social media to advertise, pitch in for a newspaper advertisement with other local businesses, or request that local radio stations announce the event as a PSA.
- How to create special cash-mob offers. To take full advantage of the new shoppers who will come through your doors, consider running a special offer. It might be a discount on an item, a rewards card for repeat customers, or a coupon to a nearby shop with any purchase. Special offers return the favor for cash mob participants, rewarding them for supporting your business.
- How to encourage people to return to your store. Offers that encourage repeat business help nudge people back to your store, as do ongoing marketing efforts. On the day of the cash mob, collect contact information (including email addresses) from your customers to facilitate future marketing efforts.