Welcome, New England Local Business Forum members! This is a post about how Main and Me supports the New England Local Business Forum-branded “Shift Your Shopping” campaigns which many of you have implemented (with a nod of thanks to reader Imuromo for helping to make the title of this post more coherent!)
Until recently, the problem of local business competing with the internet has been framed in terms of every man to himself, with each store left to build its own website, engage with its own audience, and drive traffic to its own storefront. But what if there was a way to leverage the efforts of individuals acting in their own interest to shift a significant portion of online shopping back to local sources?
Put another way:
…What if resource-challenged business owners could use their iPhones to create instant online store galleries?
…What if local-loving shoppers could use their iPhones to create instant online wish lists?
…What if shoppers photographing items for their own wish lists also automatically kick started galleries for the stores where they were shopping–store pages that could later be claimed or taken down if the owners didn’t want them?
…What if every store gallery created in the same town was automatically added to a community gallery for that town, so future shoppers could literally windowshop that town from their computers and smartphones?
..What if grandparents in Boston could buy gifts for their grandchildren in Seattle from the local Seattle toy store where the grandchildren wish listed the items?
..What if wedding guests in Portland could buy gifts for a newly-married couple in Austin from the local Austin stores where the couple registered?
…What if people could like, comment on and follow products and stores in their town, the same way they interact with those things on Facebook and Pinterest now?
…What if all that liking and commenting and wish listing generated “Google juice” that made the local shops in that town appear more prominently in search?
…What if store owners shared links to their galleries in their monthly newsletter, inviting an ever-widening audience of online shoppers to visit their store page and their town’s community page?
..What if store owners promoted the fact that their customers could create local-only wish lists and registries, so that friends and family always knew what to get each other on special occasions, and the gifts they exchanged always came from local sources…without last-minute shipping costs?
As you may have already guessed, http://www.mainandme.com already does all these things, and you can start using it right now (iPhone and Android apps on the way in time for 2012 holiday shopping season).