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'Buy Bahamian' Initiative Critical For 25,000 Jobs

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

ykemp@tribunemedia.net

Around 45 companies yesterday joined forces in a bid to drive "behavioural change" among Bahamian consumers and help preserve up to 25,000 jobs heading into the Christmas shopping season.

Unveiling the ShopLocal campaign, an initiative created by The Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR), merchants and other backers said the economic devastation inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic had made it even more vital for Bahamians to ensure the survival of local businesses and jobs by patronising them over the next six weeks.

The ten-week campaign, which launched yesterday and is sponsored by the Mall at Marathon, Nassau Cruise Port, Southwest Plaza, A.I.D, Furniture Plus, the Graham Thompson law firm and The Bahamas Light Industries Development Council (BLIDC), said the retail, wholesale and manufacturing sector's rebound "relies heavily on a behavioural shift" by consumers.

"Now, more than ever, we need everyone to consider the financial impact and consequences of every shopping choice," said Alannah van Onselen, the Federation's ShopLocal director and president of Bahama Hand Prints. "I cannot think of a more important initiative to support. Our local economy depends on it.

"As a local manufacturer, our success as a company and all the jobs it supports relies on Bahamians taking pride and supporting all that is Bahamian. We hope this important initiative will help to change consumers' hearts, minds and shopping behaviours to strengthen local businesses, our economy and our collective standard of living."

The ShopLocal initiative will likely be aided, at least in part, by the reluctance of Bahamians and residents to travel abroad to shop in Florida and other US destinations where they may be exposed to COVID-19. Travel restrictions, border closures and the general uncertainty created by the pandemic, together with the loss of jobs and incomes, will also discourage travel by locals - as the Government is also attempting to do.

However, online shopping remains attractive and will likely present local merchants with their stiffest competition this Christmas. To combat this, the ShopLocal initiative will feature radio ads, billboards, social media marketing, and newspaper ads designed to educate local consumers about the direct connection between their purchase decisions, jobs and the Bahamian economy's health.

"In this economic environment, consumers are rightfully careful about every dollar they spend, but they often assume that shopping abroad brings greater savings, and that is not always true," said Elizabeth Ramsay, Nassau Tile's managing director, urging Bahamians to keep money in their local economy.

"The landed cost of imported goods can often be higher than the cost of goods available locally. In addition, the added value of seeing and touching the product in person and having quick access to it once purchased are further incentives to shop local rather than abroad - not to mention it facilitates ease of exchanges and, depending on the item, the ability to utilise product warranties which you would otherwise relinquish by shopping abroad."

Ms van Onselen added: "Our economic success and sustainability as a country is enhanced when we support the local economy. Now more than ever, in light of the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

“The importance of spending dollars at home makes a tremendously positive impact on to employment and their livelihoods. When local consumers shop local, they help to support thousands of existing local jobs and create new ones to build the economy by retaining monies within the community versus these funds going to a faraway corporation, and they grow entrepreneurship, innovation and diversity in the local economy.”

Carla Moss-Fitzgerald, marketing director at the Mall at Marathon, said: “Brick and mortar stores traditionally have been dwindling. Their strength has been dwindling due to a lot more people becoming more social with technology and so they're shopping online.”

“But what we have found at the Mall at Marathon is that a number of the people tend to shop online. They don't realise the overall cost of it. They're saying: 'Oh, I see it online, and it's $499. Why is it $1,500 here?' Well, of course, then you have to factor in the duties and the shipping costs and all of that into it.

"And so therefore, there are a lot of things that you're not considering. You're comparing apples with oranges. So we want to - through this campaign - let people know that the prices in the shops are fair. The job you save may be your own.”

ShopLocal participating merchants include A.I.D., Bahama Handprints, Bahamas Supply Agencies, Bahamas Supply Air Conditioning, Bijoux Terner, Blanco Chemicals, Brass & Leather, Caribbean Bottling Company, Carpet World, CBS Bahamas, Clarks, Coin of the Realm, Cole's of Nassau, Custom Computers, Cycles Unlimited, Dollar Plus, Furniture Plus, Jimmy's Liquor Store, John Bull, John Watling's, John's Shoes, Jolly Roger, Kelly's House & Home, Kelly's Lumber, Liquid Courage, Maison Décor, Master Technicians, Morley for Men, Nassau Tile, Paint Suppliers, Pandora, Relish Socks, Rip Curl, Rubins, Sabrina Boutique, Seventeen Shop, Shayne's, The Athlete's Foot, The Perfume Bar, The Sign Man, The Sports Centre, The Shoe Village and Young's Fine Wine.

Comments

thps 1 year ago

Free tips:

They should have a website or FB page or something for this initiative....so they are already on a bad foot They also should have done this as soon as the they were allowed to reopen.

The Mar-May lockdowns which prevented retailers from even delivering made it worse and put them at a disadvantage.

But that was the past here is what I would tell them to do:

Where you can compete with US Retailers

1) Improve Service

The retailers who do well are the ones who build relationships with customers and make you want to go back. Not the ones who don't answer the phone, don't know what they sell, and have poor attitudes.

2) Add pickup and delivery options

Follow CBS, Kraven and otthers

Where you can top US retailers

3) Be willing to bundle installation and hands on support

Amazon and Walmart can't

4) Have return policies

No one is paying to ship a product back

5) Promote your warranty.

Walmart and Amazon can not compete with you here.

6) Have customers test their products in store

if you order online you're taking a risk if you buy local you know before you leave if it works or not

7) Bundle items or services with other retailers

8) Loyalty and rewards

9)Advertise the total cost

Post signs with each big ticket item:

Big ticket item Our Price: 620 With Warranty With Returns Support

If you bought it from Walmart with No Warranty, no hands on support US 299 FX and Stamp tax Fees (2.9%) Duty (35%) 104.65 Processing Fee (1%) 2.99 Environmental Levy ($5.00) 5.00 Customs Item VAT (12%) 49.40 Total 162.04 Freight Forwarder: 100 Insurance: (3%): $9 Handling Fee: 10 VAT 14.28 Total landed Price $589.01 with no warranty or hands on support or try before you buy

9: Where you can beat Miami prices advertise it.

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thps 1 year ago

Simple partnership option:

Buy an HDTV from a local retailer: get 3 months HD Channels from rev free or no rent on additional HD boxes for each TV you buy locally.

It encourages people to buy local It encourages persons to sign up with Rev to slow down cord-cutters and lock in customers.

Win/Win.

These types of partnerships you can never get with the US retailers.

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ohdrap4 1 year ago

I buy locally where I can. But Fashion Hall and Rubins are permanently closed. So my only option us Amazon as I require odd sizing.

I used to buy shoes at John's but they bexame obsolete with crowded stores

I now only buy online from GR Sweeting shoe village. The staff is really nice and theu offer good return policy. Have never bought shoes from Amazon.

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ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

they need to stop selling dry rot shoes. Brand new shoes for 80 dollars falling apart the second time you wear them. And you called it "G R Sweeting". Lol. I know you used to shop downtown at the Tiny Shop too;)

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TalRussell 1 year ago

Curious if any of our comrades want to guestimate what the colony's cash loot rake-in has been just from all the Amazon and similar online sellers' products imported just during the COVID-19, eight, and half months period? Shakehead once for upyeahvote, twice for not?

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ohdrap4 1 year ago

If in fact the people bought from Amazon what they would have purchased by traveling to Florida, then we collected more in duties and taxes.

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