November 9, 2015
Building smarter and stronger cities is what motivates us to do what we do here at HotSpot. We started as a pay-by-phone parking system to ease the process of parking downtown, and later realized that our impact could be expanded beyond the parking industry. Through discussions with various Downtown Associations and small business owners, we came to realize that our product could serve as the connecting piece between local shoppers and local business owners.
If you've walked through the downtowns of the cities in which we are present, you might have seen our stickers (or our partner, Passport in the US cities) in various local shops. Better yet, if you have our app (or our partners app, Passport for the US cities), we hope that you received free parking while shopping in local businesses!
While introducing our product to local cores, we spoke with many different individuals from a multitude of industries and backgrounds. The majority of these conversations further instilled the idea that people prefer to shop local because it offers a richer experience that leads to local economic growth. In an effort to see how accurate our hypothesis really was, we decided to put it to the test.
Here are some of the responses from the 1000+ responses:
Would you consider yourself a local shopper? 72% said yes.
Do you give a preference to shopping locally? 84% said yes.
What is your favorite part about downtown?
"The best part of downtown is the feeling that I'm actually part of the community when I shop at local stores"
"I find downtown shopping more personal. I actually chat with the proprietors. I feel they are more knowledgeable."
"Community, enhanced shopping experience, level of quality products, services, restaurants, and informed employees!"
How would you describe the difference between shopping local and shopping malls?
"Shopping local seems more personal, intimate, almost conversational if you know the owner/operator. It's the additional comfort that gives me confidence I'm making the right decisions with my spending."
"When I shop local, I feel like I am supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs. I also feel like I am establishing connections and relationships with people in my community."
Source: Downtown Fredericton
In a study conducted by the American Booksellers Association, Civic Economics and Buy Local First Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, it was concluded that shopping at locally owned stores generates almost four times as much economic benefit for the surrounding region as shopping at a chain and that eating at a local restaurant produces more than twice the local economic impact of dining at a chain restaurant.
After reviewing the results of our survey, and reviewing various similiar studies, it was made very apparent just how much people care about supporting their local shops, celebrating the arts and culture of their municipality, and the genuine care to strengthen their local economy. As we move forward, we want to ensure that our work allows shoppers to love their local shops and local shops to love their shoppers.
Source: Robert Simmonds (One of our very favourite local businesses)