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  • Matt Moloney

Shop local this holiday season: A guide to launching a successful holiday campaign

‘Tis the season! With the holidays quickly approaching, many cities are thinking of ways to encourage their residents to shop local this holiday season. While there are many benefits to shopping local, the holidays can be an extremely important time for local businesses to build community and revenue that can sustain them for months to come.


Below is a simple guide to launching a successful shop local campaign this season of joy.


Step 1: Decide how you’ll kick off your shop local this holiday season campaign

Depending on your community’s culture, you may want to have a kick off or highlight event to showcase your shop local campaign. By deciding upon this first, you can then create a timeline around the event to plan and coordinate with the local business owners.


Some fun ideas to kick off the campaign may be:


  1. "Holiday Hunt": Create a holiday-themed scavenger hunt where participants can visit different local businesses to find special items or clues. Offer prizes for completing the hunt

  2. Festive Window Displays: Organize a local business window decorating contest with a holiday theme. Encourage businesses to get creative with their window displays and have residents vote for their favorites

  3. Shop Local Gift Guides: Produce holiday gift guides featuring products from local businesses. Share these guides on your website, social media and through local publications

  4. Small Business Saturday: Promote Small Business Saturday, which falls on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, as a day for residents to kick off their holiday shopping by supporting local businesses with special promotions and events

  5. "12 Days of Local" Countdown: Create a countdown campaign in the 12 days leading up to Christmas, featuring a different local business each day. Share special offers, stories and highlights to encourage holiday shopping


Step 2: Find a way to keep the shop local momentum all year-round

While retail activity increases around the holiday, it’s always ideal to try and maintain that momentum until the summer surge. By investing in a shop local solution like Open Rewards, you’re able to have your local businesses stay top-of mind all year long.


Open Rewards is an easy to use app that allows residents to earn cash back rewards while they shop. It’s easier to use than a stamp card or redeemable coupons from City Hall and with ​​every dollar invested, the city sees $20+ in economic impact.


It’s important to figure out details like this before spreading the word to your businesses.


Learn how the city of Las Vegas launched Open Rewards to help businesses that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 in this article.


Step 3: Create buy-in from your local businesses

After you have a sense of how you’ll create excitement around the campaign, it’s time to contact your local businesses. If you have a CRM, you should be able to send an email blast to your local businesses, inviting their feedback, sharing how to use Bludot Open Rewards and encouraging their cooperation for the event. Bonus points if you send out a survey before solidifying any plans to solicit their feedback and participation!


Step 4: Track your success

With any economic development campaign, you’ll want to measure the impact of your work. Bludot Open Rewards makes it easy to gather data to tell the story of your work. When the city of Lancaster, CA implemented Open Rewards, they registered over 1,300 users to the platform and had over 400 participating businesses. The city has distributed $59,407 in rewards, but saw $210,300 in total economic impact—bringing a 4x return on investment (ROI) for the program.


The holiday season brings a unique opportunity to gather your community near, celebrate your local businesses and empower your residents to enjoy what your city has to offer. By implementing a shop local program with a festive event, powered by the right technology, you can light up this season of celebration.

If you’re ready to discuss the best strategy for your shop local this holiday season campaign, schedule a call with Bludot today.


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