By Eric Groves, CEO & CoFounder of Alignable
JJ Ramberg of MSNBC’s Your Business recently featured a segment on the great success of Lowcountry Local First and their Buy Local movement in Charleston SC. The local businesses interviewed attributed their success in shifting local consumer behavior in great part to finding their “collective voice.” Here’s how they found it:
- Stressing Collaboration over Competition focused their efforts on changing the minds of local consumers
- Achieving critical mass as a group by inviting colleagues at other local businesses to get involved
- Being a sounding board for each other to ask questions and share local knowledge
- Leveraging their own customer outreach (Email, Facebook, in-store) to help each other
In finding their collective voice, Charleston businesses re-vitalized their local business community while making their own businesses even more successful.
Here’s some additional data on why working together has so much potential for your business
- 80% of sales typically come from customers located in close proximity to your business
- As a successful business, you likely have ways to engage with your most loyal customers that brings them back (email marketing list, Facebook). The overlap rate between your list and other local businesses is typically less than 5%.
- Your best next customer is likely shopping two doors down at another local business.
Net-Net: by working with another local business you both gain access to the next local customers that you both desire, the customer becomes “informed” by someone they trust (you), and your customers look to you as a valued local resource.
The opportunity to bring local businesses together is what drove me to co-found Alignable in 2012. Alignable is a free local social network for local businesses and the organizations you work with. We created Alignable to enable you to come together, collaborate, and share and support each other within your local community. You’ll be able to use each other as sounding boards, easily share each other’s events and promotions, while increasing your collective reach to local consumers.
Here is some of the interesting behavior we have witnessed from our local business users: An indoor soccer tournament was enhanced by an auto detailing shop offering on-site car detailing, a bookstore supported the local kitchen store with a unique bookmark coupon inserted into the DC Cupcake’s book signing event, and a local merchant’s association effortlessly pull off a 20% increase in attendees at their July Jubilee celebration on Main Street by getting over 40 local merchants working together.
If you have a desire to find your collective voice (whether its with only a couple other businesses or your entire local indie business community) then we hope you will let us at Alignable help make that a reality. It’s Free, It’s Easy, and it’s Powerful. Just use invite code: indie to get started.