According to Rachelle Hicks, who founded the Shop West Coast concept, she is passionate about the West Coast and its unique locally owned shops, boutiques and businesses as a result of being raised in Karamea and Westport.
“I lived away for ten years and moved back about two years ago,” she points out.
“I now work at my families shop, Heritage Jewellers, and have built up a good following on its Facebook page. Two years ago I began to think of ways to unite local businesses and use affordable collaborative marketing to promote businesses and encourage people to shop locally. This is effectively where Shop West Coast came about. I talked about my idea with the Buller District Council and other local government agencies and got a great response.
“Now, after a lot of design, planning and feedback from local business owners, Shop West Coast has just been made public and so far the locals love it!”
Hicks has been collecting positive feedback, with one retailer saying, “Shop West Coast is going very well and our customers love it! It’s great value for money. It is paying for itself and any related newspaper and radio advertising. Like anything, the more you put into it and promote it, the more you get out of it. It is a useful tool for our business as we use Shop West Coast in our advertising and our Facebook page. This has generated a lot of interest so far and helps to create sales and customer relations.”
Hicks explains that she has spent time in other areas such as Greymouth, Hokitika and Reefton to inform retailers about Shop West Coast and what it can do for their businesses.
“I am now just waiting for them to get on board and start using Shop West Coast.”
As an incentive, Shop West Coast comes with a reward card which costs $10 and lasts for one year. Customers can show it at participating retailers to receive instant rewards.
Registered businesses get visual merchandising, a full page on the mobile-friendly directory website, the ability to sell reward cards and exclusive radio and newspaper advertising deals for a monthly cost of $25.
Businesses can register online at www.shopwestcoast.co.nz.