'Cash Mob': Getting More Local Shoppers Into Stores
Have you ever heard of a “cash mob”? I had no clue until I surfed the Web earlier this week looking for a column topic.
A cash mob is designed to get people into local businesses to shop and support them. Partici-pants are encouraged to visit a particular business on a given day or time period and spend between $10 and $20.
Susan Peyton, president of Egg Marketing & Communi-cations, points out that many people spend more.
“And that’s exactly what struggling small businesses need right now,” Peyton says in a recent Internet post.
As with many social media-inspired events, it’s not clear who came up with the idea. But since cash mobs were first seen last year, more than 100 cities in the United States have created them. They are also popping up in Canada and around the world.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Saturday has been designated International Cash Mob Day.
Peyton thinks that consumers flock to cash mobs because it’s “cool,” like new social media sites like Pinterest.
“It’s being part of a story, and people like that,” she says. “Cash mob organizers are using social media to announce locations and get collective buy-in from consumers, who help spread the word to their friends on Facebook and Twitter. And supporting local businesses is always something that makes people feel good.”
The following are suggested rules for running a cash mob:
The mob date must be announced at least a week in advance via Twitter.
The location at which to meet will be announced, but not the specific business to support.
The amount to spend will not be more than $20, although people can spend more if they wish.
The business must have products for both men and women.
The business must be locally owned.
The business owner must give back to the community in some way.
The business owner must approve the cash mob before the mob is announced.
The business must be within one block of a locally owned watering hole.
Cash mobbers must join in for celebratory drinks after the successful mob.
The cash mob must occur during the evening on a weekday or on a weekend.
At the mob, it is also suggested that you meet three people you didn’t know before and, above all, have fun.
Peyton believes that starting a cash mob just for your business can inspire other local business owners to get involved.
“It will be interesting to see how more cash mobs might affect the health of small businesses,” she says. “After all, it’s the small things (like one person spending $10 ) that add up to success.”
A website dedicated to cash mobs — cash-mobs.wordpress.com — claims that they aren’t “a political or social organization, a corporation, a movement, or meant to be an answer to economic crisis. By and large, those that organize cash mobs are simply people trying to make a positive impact on the businesses in their communities, and have fun while doing it.”
The website underscores the fact that we can each do a little, but we can all do a lot.
The thing that most impresses me is that entrepreneurs are trying to find a solution to the economic downturn rather than focusing on the problem.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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