By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Bahamians were yesterday urged to “avoid the mad dash and start shopping early" as more merchants join an initiative to drive increased Christmas purchases locally.
Alannah van Onselen, the ShopLocal initiative's director, told Tribune Business the effort was faring “really well” with the initial marketing campaign. She added: “We've got good momentum going. We've got now a total of 55 businesses who are members, which is great, and we are looking for more members.”
The ShopLocal initiative was launched last month by the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR) and several corporate partners, including the Nassau Cruise Port and the Bahamas Light Industries Development Council, in a bid to encourage Bahamians to shop locally this holiday season and provide a badly-needed boost to merchants still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses that join ShopLocal have access to joint marketing programmes as well as the branding that comes with the campaign. Companies that sign up will also receive a video that showcases and “tells the story” about their business for use in further marketing campaigns by ShopLocal.
Ms Onselen also said: “The bigger the movement, the better and the more members we have, the longer we can keep it going. Christmas season is upon us. So a good reminder of shopping at home and the importance of it to everyone would be great.”
"What would be great is encouraging Bahamians to start shopping now, because that last rush is going to make it very difficult. There's going to be lines, especially when we're trying to keep everybody adhering to the COVID-19 protocol. So we want to encourage people not to get caught, and start shopping early so that it doesn't turn into a mad dash.”
Ms Onselen said ShopLocal has developed a social media presence, and she can see the interaction between potential customers and her members online. “I can see that people are talking about it. It's a conversation on social media. People are reposting things that we're doing. I think that there is a there is a large majority of people who are making the effort to shop at home in support," she added.
“The more people that join on, the better, the larger, the stronger the message, and the more people that spread the message. The whole aim of the campaign is to educate the Bahamian consumer.”