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Shop local to save small businesses

A new e-commerce initiative, Shop My Town Ipswich, has launched this week to encourage Ipswich residents to support local businesses.

It’s the latest venture for Melody Jarvis, who set up programs including It’s My Shout in Victoria and Shop South Coast in New South Wales to help struggling businesses in the wake of the recent bushfires.

The Sadliers Crossing mum of four said the launch date of Shop My Town Ipswich was brought forward in response to business needs during COVID-19.

“We want locals to buy local and think about where they spend their dollars,” Ms Jarvis said.

“For some businesses, this is about changing their whole identity from a bricks and mortar shop to bringing in revenue through a new platform.”

At least 20 local businesses across Ipswich have signed up to Shop My Town Ipswich in recent weeks for help in marketing and selling their products through the online portal.

Ms Jarvis said that making and maintaining connections with customers was the most important thing for businesses to be doing right now.

“Right now businesses need to focus on building that positive relationship with their customers,” Ms Jarvis said.

“This is a really tough time for local business, but the businesses that have pivoted quickly online and with services like deliveries have been able to keep their loyal customers buying from them.”

Ms Jarvis said that while the public’s desire to support local right now is very encouraging, it’s important that it continues beyond COVID-19.

“Statistically, we see people engage well during a campaign, but it doesn’t often have much of a long-term flow-on effect,” Ms Jarvis said.

“So with a campaign like Buy local milk, people will jump on board at the start, but that will ease off when the campaign ends.

“We are committed to long-term sustainable encouragement to buy local and make sure people remember these smaller businesses once this period is over.”

Ms Jarvis launched Shop My Town in the Lockyer Valley six years ago when she couldn’t find an online presence for many local shops.

She said she’s seen many communities work together through tough times and believes that sense of solidarity will also help Ipswich businesses.

“Supporting each other is one good side effect that we’ll see come out of this,” Ms Jarvis said.

“Consumer habits won’t change, they still want things to be as convenient as possible, but if we collaborate we can respond to their needs and do that at a higher level.

“The city needs to see us working together.”

Visit Shop My Town Ipswich to support your local retailers online.

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