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Shopping local no longer the norm

In a world where brand behemoths are king, it’s not surprising that small business owners can feel a little forgotten.

New research into the attitudes of small business owners found more than two thirds of shop owners feel overlooked by their local communities, and one in four feel no connection to the communities where they operate.

Yet a new campaign is aimed at changing this very problem.

To reconnect consumers with small businesses, the national Shop Small campaign is being rolled out across Australia for the first time.

Started by American Express, and run overseas since 2010, the initiative calls on Australians to support small businesses during November.

Via a partnership with several big names, including American Express, Energy Australia, MYOB, NAB and Virgin Australia, Shop Small will drive a social media and traditional advertising campaign to communicate the message to consumers.

“We’ve got a coalition of partners, including ourselves, who are driving the key message which is to get Australians out to shop small during the month of November. We want to make sure that we connect Australians to their small business communities,” Jason Fryer, Vice President of Small Business Services at American Express told Dynamic Business.

The media strategy, which involves radio, print and television advertising across the country, is kicking off from November 1.

“But the biggest part of how we’re going to communicate [the message], and get people involved is really through social media,” Fryer said.

“Facebook and Twitter are key channels which have worked really well [in this campaign] in other countries, and that really starts the whole movement behind getting people to talk to others about this campaign and getting out there and shopping small,” Fryer added.

The research by Shop Small found despite a strong belief in the importance of small businesses to the health of local communities, local shop-owners are often overlooked when it comes time to buy goods and services.

The study found that the majority of small business owners:

  • Agree that they are important to their local community (97%) because they offer superior customer service (62%), convenience (62%) and give the community an identity (53%);
  • Feel forgotten by their community (65%);
  • Acknowledge they are finding it hard to compete (54%) mainly because they are being outspent on advertising or beaten on prices;
  • Emphasise that repeat business is important to the success of the business (94%); and
  • Admit that losing a regular customer can be an emotional experience (84%), with many feeling upset, confused and even fearful.

“Employing more than five million Australians, small businesses are the lifeline of our communities and our economy. Yet, they clearly feel overlooked by their own communities,” Fryer said.

“It’s time to reverse this trend and rally behind small businesses. Shop Small aims to reconnect Australians to small businesses and the value they offer to consumers, communities and the economy at large.”

Small businesses can register to take part in the campaign via the Shop Small website.

Stephanie Zillmanhttp://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au
Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.