The name may not sound familiar yet, but Go Local Metro Boston will soon be known as an emerging social company geared to increase local shopping in Boston. Go Local plans to increase consumers’ incentives to shop locally by selling Go Local cards that offer rewards to cardholders at participating local businesses. Each business determines its reward: perhaps a discount on a certain day or a free drink with lunch? The hope is that cardholders will initially visit local businesses for the reward, but eventually form a habit of shopping locally.
The Go Local card should be an effective strategy to encourage local shopping. Since consumers initially make a $10 investment in the card, they will feel obligated to shop at the participating local businesses and get their money’s worth from the card. This will hopefully encourage consumers to try new local businesses, identify their favorites and form a habit of shopping at their new favorite local businesses. Also, since the card offers rewards and savings at local businesses, it may make local shopping more affordable.
The folks at Go Local Metro Boston understand the role of local businesses in community building. In fact, they plan to reward the businesses that they identify as pillars of their communities, by offering them free memberships to the Go Local Program. Go Local members will also be promoted by Go Local Metro Boston and be offered opportunities for inexpensive advertising through Go Local. Go Local will be establishing itself as part of the mutually beneficial relationship between local businesses and their communities.
Support of Boston’s locally-owned businesses could certainly improve. Erin Andersen of Go Local Metro Boston believes that to bring about this change, there needs to be more collaboration among Boston’s local business associations. Also, neighborhoods shouldn’t be competing against one another, but fostering their own identities. Each neighborhood will flourish as each contributes its own unique atmosphere to the landscape of Boston. Therefore, neighborhoods, their neighboring communities and Boston as a whole can improve simultaneously.
In addition to the card membership program, Go Local is hoping to foster community engagement by hosting events that should unite community members. Hopefully Bostonians will employ this approach to improving our city: everyone working to improve their own communities and consequentially improving Boston as a whole.
Go Local could eventually foster a movement like this countrywide, as Go Local Metro Boston is part of a larger network of Go Local companies. The original company is in Austin, Texas (however, Go Local Metro Boston is a locally-based company, not a national chain). As part of this national network, a Go Local card from any city can be used at any Go Local business in the country! This benefit, accompanied by a Go Local iPhone application, which shows nearby Go Local businesses, will encourage consumers to not only support local businesses in their own community, but in the communities they visit as well. The iPhone application also allows visitors and tourists to locate those quirky locally-owned businesses that make a community unique.
Jumping to get a Go Local card? Well, Go Local Metro Boston is still in the process of learning about Boston and forming their plan to gain support for local businesses. But Future Boston will be sure to keep you updated when Go Local Boston is completely up and running, as we are so excited about their work!
-Marilyn Willmoth, Future Boston Intern