Hyperlocal Retail Directories Go After ‘Shop Local’ Consumers | Street Fight

The Local Network

Hyperlocal Retail Directories Go After ‘Shop Local’ Consumers

0 Comments 25 October 2012 by

Online commerce not only competes on price with local retail these days, it’s also curating and recommending products like the department store buyer once did. Fab.com and Etsy have succeeded by facilitating the discovery of well designed products by small retailers and artisans to a mass audience.  The upcoming Facebook Gifts product will recommend gifts to Facebook friends when an event, like a birthday, housewarming or birth announcement, is triggered. The breadth of curated product being offered to consumers threatens to overwhelm local retailers who need to compete not only on price, but attractive inventory. So how does the local retailer compete?

Two key reasons why consumers shop local is immediacy of purchase and physical confirmation of product, (i.e. making sure a shoe fits). Fab.com and Etsy can’t ship their products to you for delivery this afternoon — and it’s tedious for a consumer to filter product offerings based on retail location. That leaves room for hyperlocal retail directories like GatherLA.com, which curates designers in Los Angeles for discovery by local consumers.

I spoke with Jenka Gurfinkel, who manages strategy at GatherLA.com, which featured in last weekend’s LA Times: “The rise of Fab.com showed us how good design can be curated and packaged to a national audience. Katie Kay Mead, GatherLA’s creative director, leveraged her fashion retail experience and network to develop GatherLA as a venue to expose great design in L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods. At the local level, the discovery process of being able to touch and see inventory in one place is what will differentiate bricks and mortar from an online experience. On a global level, GatherLA has a second mission to show the world what is hot and happening in L.A., or other cities like San Francisco that we plan to launch in. It could set trends based on geography that may influence a new generation of designers”.

A third big reason why consumers shop local is to keep dollars in the community. A survey from American Express Open Forum shows that 93% of consumers believe it’s important to support local small businesses. Lesley Tweedie in Chicago is developing a commerce engine called LittleIndependent.com that showcases local merchants with unique products who might benefit from selling to a wider national audience. She found her inspiration in an earlier buy-local initiative The350Project.net, which purports “for every $100 spent in local stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures… Spend it online, and nothing comes home.”

Tweedie believes the “shop local” movement must move to online and mobile in order to compete toe-to-toe with big online retailers like Amazon that are constantly developing new ways — like iPhone price checkers or same day delivery — to disintermediate the local store. Merchant associations and chambers need to move away from staid chamber sites that nobody visits to promoting commercial movements like Buy Local Santa Monica.  She points to corporations like American Express supporting SMBs with programs like Small Business Saturday, an initiative to get consumers to shop local on Saturday, November 24, as an antidote Black Friday and CyberMonday.

Tweedie, a bike shop owner herself, states that a majority of an SMB’s livelihood comes from simply being there. The community gets to know you by passing the store and word of mouth. The new challenge is to make sure that the store’s online presence is up to par with Amazon, something most stores can’t do on their own. GatherLA and LittleIndependent are two examples of a new kind of activism — retailers themselves developing the shopping channels that their peers can use so they all can enhance their local visibility.

Patrick Kitano is founding Principal of Brand into Media, a strategy group for social brand management solutions, and administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

Street Fight Summit 2012 is coming NEXT WEEK. Join top hyperlocal industry executives in New York on October 30th and 31st. Buy your ticket today!

Nov. 4th in NYC: Local in the City!
Click here to register.

Newsletter

Get hyperlocal industry headlines in your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the Street Fight Daily newsletter.

Free White Paper: Contextualization

Learn how to deliver better, revenue-driving consumer experiences. Download "Contextualization: Leveraging Location-Based Technology and Mobile to Drive Success for Brands."

Sponsored by Artisan Mobile.

Follow Us

Get the latest Street Fight news, information and analysis via Twitter and Facebook.

The Commerce Graph

The “Commerce Graph” is a new framework we have developed to think about the future of physical exchange. The model offers an alternative to the dominant narrative about the commerce landscape that frames digital networks as an adversary of physical exchange.

The $20 Billion Mobile Marketing Opportunity

Strategies and insights into the landscape of targeting options and how they deliver foot traffic and sales for SMBs.
Check out our 2013 report and get your copy today!

When the ‘Pop-Up’ Store Sticks Around

Retailers have started to rethink their sprawling storefronts. Instead, companies are turning to smaller, more specialized locations that that can adapt to declining store revenues while addressing some new opportunities in selling to a connected consumer.

Twitter

© 2014 Street Fight.

Powered by WordPress. Hosting by Page.ly