The case for brick-and-mortal retailing as a key engine of community development and prosperity is tough to encapsulate in a single tagline, but Cockburn Gateway Shopping City (CGSC) is doing it this holiday season. “Live Local Love Local” is how the Australian named the awareness campaign it developed to encourage consumers to spend their hard-earned cash locally and offline.
“With a lot of media coverage at present about online shopping, we felt it was important to promote the tangible benefits of shopping local. There is a perception out there that you always get a ‘deal’ online, but taking dollars away from your local community may impact you greater,” explained marketing manager Julie Elliott.
“In addition, shopping online does not guarantee [that] you will get the product you are after. You can’t see it, feel it or try it on. Add to this the unknown factor of if you will actually get the right item or size from unknown sellers and unconfirmed delivery dates, [and] it really becomes a risky purchase decision. We hope that the Live Local Love Local campaign raises awareness of the fact that if you shop local, you are keeping local people in local jobs and allowing many community initiatives to continue to be funded, simply by spending at any of our stores.”
The argument, of course, it tough to dismiss unless you’re in a community whose fortunes depend on a sizeable group of retailers operating solely online. There’s also no question that CGSC is using the campaign to keep its own tenants thriving—consumers have clearly moved past the issue of the touch it/feel it experience and embraced online shopping en masse. These caveats aside, however, CGSC’s connection to the local scene seems to be the real deal.
The center has a number of outreach initiatives, including monthly $30 Student Encouragement Awards for local schools, funding for the Hands on Wetlands program at Yangebup Lake, a Cockburn Charity Christmas Tree drop-off point for donations to local families in need, a welcome pack that’s handed to all new City of Cockburn residents and the Cockburn Community Chest, which provides quarterly donations to local community groups.
While any center would hope for its local community to buy into a campaign that promotes its best interests, CGSC is still rewarding shoppers for their active support.
For the entire month of November, shoppers could pick up free Live Local Love Local wristbands and bumper stickers at the customer service desk. If they were spotted around town with them, they’d get a chance to win one of six $50 weekly prizes or the $1,000 grand prize.
While the ultimate goal is to keep local physical stores busy, that doesn’t mean CGSC marketers are stuck in the promotional Stone Age. They too understand the power of the Web and grasp the importance of social media. That’s why they’ve included the center website, a downloadable Live Local Love Local + Shop Local catalog, a link to Twitter, a Google +1 button and Facebook in their campaign media roster.
The Facebook fan page, for one, has already earned 3781 “likes,” a sign that the center’s “You’re not simply shopping, you’re helping to create a better community” claim is resonating with shoppers. CGSC retailers must be loving it.