Chamber Corner: October 4, 2021

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Article Contributed by
Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

ShopLocalCHQ Serves Local Business

Now that the season has officially changed to autumn, can Christmas be far behind? While that may seem to many like we’re rushing the seasons, in the world of retail sales there is much planning and upfront work to be done before any Christmas merchandise is even on the display floor.

We are already seeing numerous articles about making online purchases early this year due to supply chain issues and the expectation of extended shipping times. But don’t worry, because there is a sound way that you – as either a consumer or a businessperson – can avoid those problems. Shop locally!

The Chamber of Commerce is here to help! We offer an online sales and marketing platform for our local, member businesses. It’s a place where you can list items for sale and be part of this outstanding and consumer-friendly system. Since the pandemic shutdowns in the spring of 2020 online sales have skyrocketed. In the US alone, ecommerce sales jumped by 33-percent – to just under $792 billion! If your business isn’t selling online now you are missing out on sales.

ShopLocalCHQ.com provides a place where our local Chamber member merchants can sell products, services, or gift cards. The system operates by aggregating all of a consumer’s items into a single shopping cart, so it’s easy for the buyer, and at the same time the back end divvies up the sales by vendor, so your sale proceeds come to your business. It’s simple to use and easy to participate. Even if you’re already selling online, you can easily link to your own website and still harness the concentrated marketing power around shopping locally. If your business is not one of the 74 merchants already on the platform, just visit ShopLocalCHQ.com and click “start selling” to begin the process. If you are already a Chamber member, we will quickly approve your participation and you can get set up to start selling. If you are not a Chamber member business yet, we will be notified that you’re interested, and our staff will connect with you about becoming a member.

In addition, the Chamber still features a local gift card! Throughout its many years in existence – first as a gift check and more recently as a card – the local economic impact from this program is approximately $3 million. That’s money that has been spent at local retailers and restaurants, and goes back into local payroll, business space, and local programs funded by local businesses. This program serves over 140 local Chamber member businesses, so the card can be used for everything from local wines to restaurants to entertainment, retail, and much more. Very soon our ShopLocalCHQ gift card will have a brand-new look, so watch for our unveiling!

If your business is already participating in these programs, we ask you to please double check the merchandise you have listed for sale on ShopLocalCHQ.com and make sure it’s up to date and ready for Christmas sales. If you have recently changed your companies point of sale system and participate in the ShopLocal gift card, please let us know so we can keep you up to date in the system.

Shopping locally benefits our entire community, and with the busy holiday shopping season ahead we remind one and all to support the local businesses that have worked hard to remain open and a vital part of our communities over the past eighteen months.