Retail campaign a reason to cheer

WHAT can you get if you shop local in Dubbo?

Not a new Toyota Yaris, but $5000 which must be spent in specific local stores.

The Daily Liberal earlier reported Dubbo business owners were concerned at the "unusual" quietness of consumer spending this festive season.

In Gilgandra, retailers were given a much needed boost from Gilgandra Shire Council economic development manager Randall Medd's successful Christmas promotion.

Mr Medd said 45 independent stores contributed $375 each which paid for a new Toyota Yaris.

This prize was given to shire residents and visitors who spent $200 in the participating stores, kept their receipts and sent them to go in the draw.

Each year there were more than 18,000 entries and an average of $5.5 million worth of receipts went back into the local economy, he said.

The competition, from November 10 to December 20, was in its fourth year.

"It is a good indication of the strength of local business," Mr Medd said.

He said the Christmas promotion was one way businesses addressed online shopping and the general retail downturn.

"It puts the idea in people's mind before they shop elsewhere and makes them think, 'can I get that down the street before I shop online?'" he said.

"This doesn't necessarily mean people spend more but it keeps the money local."

People responded well to the Christmas promotion because it rewarded loyalty and the size of the prize drove the amount of entries.

Dubbo City Council marketing and community manager Jacki Parish said the Your Dubbo campaign was a "win-win" for customers and retailers.

Mrs Parish said 95 city businesses joined the campaign and for a $165 joining fee they received three reports, feedback from consumers, a customer service workshop and advertisements on different media.

"We're out there doing our part," she said.

"The whole campaign rewards customers who shop local and rewards business for providing excellent service."

The key difference between the two campaigns was that Dubbo gave valuable data back to businesses and customers had a chance to voice their concerns and compliments.

More than 8000 entry forms had been received from mid-October and it was not just a name and a few details, she said.

Gender, postcodes, how much they spent, what worked well, what customers wanted to see were all generated from the form.

Mrs Parish said the one lucky winner who would win the $5000 prize money had to spend it in participating Your Dubbo campaign stores.

"You can get in the car (the Toyota Yaris) and leave town and are never seen again," she said

Mrs Parish did not rule out a new car for next year's campaign.

"Any idea to bring money in the local economy is fantastic," she said.

abanob.saad@ruralpress.com

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