Last month, at the Orange County Professional Women's Network, we did an exercise about holiday stress, and how to relieve it. Many people's answer to mall traffic and stress was "shopping online".
I have a better idea: Shop Local Online.
I saw a Times Herald-Record article today about shopping local. I couldn't agree more.
I have to remember to toss my e-commerce sites on sale around July-August next year, to have them ready by October-November. I might only be able to serve the first 20 or so clients, put up bare-bones undesigned sites, or I may have to hire a helper or three, but my goal, as always, is keeping the local economy thriving. I'll come up with great ideas for increasing the economy locally, but everyone has to help me out.
If we can spend the next year in a concerted effort to get local businesses online, and find unique ways to deal with the crunch shopping period that seems to now start from Halloween preparations through January, we can pull some of that economy back into the region.
Anyone with more great ideas for how to help out the local economy, let me know. Meanwhile I have more and more ideas to unleash slowly over the next year or two.
Here are some great ideas: 1) Mention to local businesses when you would have chosen them to purchase from but you didn't have the time or patience to do anything but online shopping. 2) Sponsor a local business's e-commerce site! I can put a banner ad on the e-commerce site that points to your business' site, you help the business pay for the site set-up and installation. A custom designed e-commerce site goes for $1000 and has space for 4-6 banner ads -- think of that; an e-commerce site with up to 6 $100 ad spaces with ads running for a year can slice the price down to less than half! [Ed - this price is going to be going up over the year!] 3) Mention Eclectic Tech and my Shop Local Spree that will be starting next summer -- I can start taking names on a waiting list for businesses that would get in on my sale before the sale begins! Heck, maybe I'll have 20-30 sites lined up before the summer vacation! When I officially announce the waiting list, I'll figure out how much the sale will be for ($100 off? maybe more! I only hesitate because e-commerce sites are really cumbersome projects that suck up a LOT of my time) [Ed - as of Feb 1st the plan is for $200 off on the base site, and more than half off non-product pages in July & August - with a complimentary sale for Easy-To-Edit sites with PayPal Buy Now buttons], and whether I require a small deposit to be on the list (like $50 non-refundable deposit?).
Ideally more than just gift-selling retails will want to get in on it, from a "Buy Now" button for a gift certificate on a normal site, through pizzerias and delis with website-to-fax order placing for deliveries. We just have to get creative. Give me ideas I can run with.