Blog post by Vanessa Wagner, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Manager, Loudoun County, Va Department of Economic Development
“95 Million People Went to Shop at Small Businesses on Small Business Saturday 2015” ¹
There is buzz around shopping local and supporting small business, but it needs to extend past one day or season to sustain our main street communities. Enabling small businesses with new technology may be one solution to drive traffic to their storefronts. Several startups in our region are seeking to do just that.
“Nearly 30% of consumers say a coupon is enough to close the deal” ²
Tech-enabled discounts have become popular with organizations; however, new startups in the region seek to engage only the locally owned-businesses. Last year Historic Leesburg restaurants came together as new community for the DC startup, Spotluck. Spotluck provides incentives for diners to eat out during non-peak times and spreads discounts out through the community. A bonus feature for restaurants include the in-app reviews that are sent directly to the owner rather than public review sites.
Recently launched in Purcellville, VA new startup LocalShopCard is free to use for consumers and provides a 5% discount at any participating business- from restaurants to retail shops. LocalShopCard founder Joseph Grant also operates a retail store in Purcellville and sees LocalShopCard as an opportunity to curb corporate competition and increase awareness of local alternatives. Grant is currently seeking businesses to test his platform.
“40% of businesses fail due to a lack of capital and ineffective marketing” ³
GPS technology can help businesses better understand the consumers drawn to them, but location alone may not be enough. Loudoun-based Gravy Analytics compliments location data with insights such as past behavior and preferences. This information can predict future purchasing decisions and help marketers more effectively target their audience. Solutions such as Gravy’s may be worthwhile considerations for special events or entire communities to develop ongoing marketing campaigns for their main streets.
Tech startups are seeking to address challenges faced by retailers and many of these platforms may offer solutions to our main streets communities. To connect with other technology organizations in the region attend the next Loudoun Tech Startups, sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce’s Technology Coalition.
At Loudoun Economic Development, your business is our business. We want to make sure Loudoun companies are successful, and if your company isn’t in Loudoun already, we’d like to discuss how moving here can contribute to your success. Start by calling us today 1-(800)-LOUDOUN
¹ American Express. (n.d.). Small Business Saturday. Retrieved August 25, 2016, from: http://amex.co/2bUPFC4
² Rudolph, S. (n.d.). Business 2 Community. Retrieved August 25, 2016, from How Discounts Affect Online Consumer Buying Behavior [Infographic]: http://bit.ly/2bve6VR
³ Ray, R. (2015, February 21). Main Street Forum Hosts 5 Small Business Leaders. 9 Challenges Of Small Business Success. Retrieved from Small Biz Technology: http://bit.ly/2bGhX63