Here’s What Local Businesses Need to Know

Vivial offers strategies to stand out during an unusual year

DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — There’s no denying that shopping for the holidays will look and feel a lot different this year. Financial burdens, shuttered stores and stay-at-home orders will change the way consumers shop for the gift-giving season. Vivial, a leader in local business digital marketing solutions, is offering a look the holiday shopping landscape along with tips for business owners to thrive during a time when business is anything but usual.

Holiday Shopping in the Time of COVID
Many Americans are hesitant to head out and shop brick-and-mortar stores, so online shopping will continue to increase this year. According to a Google survey, 75% of U.S. shoppers who plan to shop this season said they will shop online more this year than they did in past seasons.

When they do shop in store, they will shop local. According to the Google survey, 66% of shoppers said they will plan to shop more at local businesses. Regardless of where purchases are happening, shoppers are starting even earlier this year to avoid delayed and out-of-stock gifts. According to the National Retail Federation, this holiday season will be longer than last year with 74% of retailers surveyed agreeing that consumers are likely to spread out their holiday shopping over several months.

What does all of this mean for local businesses? “For businesses that haven’t already looked into eCommerce options or updated their websites to be responsive and mobile-friendly, time is off the essence,” said Laura Cole, VP of Marketing at Vivial. “Also critical for local businesses is a solid digital marketing strategy allowing them to be found online where and when consumers are searching for gifts.”

Marketing Tips for Local Business Owners
Cole offers the following advice to help local business owners ensure they have a plan to win this holiday season.

  • Set up a Google My Business profile: Leverage Google My Business to help local business appear higher in Google Search. Using it also ensures customers can access information that’s accurate, like the business name, street address, hours of operation, safety measures, and website – all critical information when customers are looking to holiday shop.

  • Create a marketing plan for every platform: Take advantage of various platforms to get enough traction to ensure the success of holiday campaigns. Online advertising, social media platforms, text messaging, and email marketing – all of these are viable options that can effectively enhance brand recall and awareness, capture the attention of current and potential customers, and drive consumer engagement.

  • Be consistent with messaging: Holiday marketing content should have the same overall look, feel, and message. Not only does this avoid any confusing or conflicting information, but it helps build the business as reliable, trustworthy, and memorable.  Be sure to clearly communicate holiday promotions and sales along with shopping precautions such as touchless shopping and curbside pick-up.

Early and informed planning and decision making around marketing strategies

With COVID-19 cases rising, Dane County contact tracing starts ‘crisis model’ | Local News

At UW-Madison, contact tracing continues to operate normally, with University Health Services handling contact tracing for any person who tests positive identified as a UW–Madison student or employee and their close contacts, spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said.

Heinrich said the county’s “crisis mode” comes even though the health department now has at least 180 contact tracers, up from seven at the beginning of the pandemic.

Contact tracers work to curb, keep up with growing COVID-19 outbreak

At Madison hospitals, an increasing number of COVID-19 patients are coming from other parts of the state, representatives said. The hospitals are looking for traveling nurses to help with staffing demands, said Dr. Pam Wetzel, chief medical officer at UnityPoint Health-Meriter.

“We’re also seeing infections in health care workers, and that means that many members of that critical work force are out for several days,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director of infection control at UW Health.

“Capacity is tighter than we’d like but we are able to accommodate right now what we’re seeing from a staffing and a bed capacity situation,” said Kyle Nondorf, president of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital.

Officials again stressed the importance of staying home when possible, wearing masks, maintaining distance from others and avoiding large gatherings — including during the Wisconsin Badgers game Friday night and on Halloween and Thanksgiving.

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Local fashion designers want mitumba trade regulated

Standard Reporter
Kisumu residents buy second hand clothes commonly known as mitumba at Kibuye market. The mitumba business is booming in the market due to their high demand as traders sell them at a relative low price compared to the shops. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Local fashion designers have cited the unregulated importation of second-hand clothes, popularly known as mitumba, as the biggest threat to the industry.

According to a new study on the current state of the fashion industry, players said besides the current Covid-19 pandemic, the mitumba trade remains an existential threat to their businesses.

The Fashion DNA Needs Analysis study was meant to inform the development of new strategic fashion designer business support interventions appropriate for local British Council’ partners.

The study was conducted by Collective RW, an organisation founded by Rwandan fashion industry experts working to promote a dynamic creative sector in East Africa, and Jan Miller, one of the UK’s leading experts in fashion business support and incubation.

The report terms the impact of the unregulated importation of second-hand clothes “extremely damaging” for the Kenya fashion industry and called for their regulation.

“Whilst an outright ban might sound like an unrealistic action, neighbouring Rwanda took action in 2016 phasing out all second-hand clothing imports in order to support the nascent garment and textile industry with the goal of creating 25,000 jobs,” says the report.

Available statistics of Kenyan imports of second-hand clothing show that imports have been going up steadily over the years and stood at 134,000 tonnes in the first three quarters of 2018 from about 101,066 tonnes in 2013.

In 2014, traders brought in 106,974 tonnes of the clothes, while 110,659 tonnes were imported in 2015 and 131,941 tonnes in 2016.

The report also reveals that the rapid growth of e-commerce boosted by proliferation of mobile money platforms such as M-Pesa in the country has created market opportunities for the fashion industry with designers running their own stores via social media platforms.

Designers also use e-commerce to reach out to external markets, especially the African diaspora with a preference for local fashion.

“This model, designers say, requires brand development and public relations skills. Furthermore, designers using e-commerce said they enjoyed better margins, a wider geographical reach and access to customer analytics. However, it’s a fairly competitive space and logistics can be unreliable both locally and internationally,” says the study.

The report, however, notes that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, government-sanctioned closures to contain the spread of the virus have exposed vulnerabilities in the retail sector and fashion designer businesses that are yet to establish an infrastructure for e-commerce.

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Support Manhattan Beach Via ‘Local Love’ And Shopping Local In MB

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — Spending your money in Manhattan Beach matters and in an effort to get that message out as well as support the local businesses that make Manhattan Beach what it is, the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Manhattan Beach Downtown Business + Professional Association, the North End Business Improvement District and the Manhattan Village shopping center have launched “Local Love for Manhattan Beach,” a campaign aimed to encourage residents to spend locally.

“Every dollar spent in Manhattan Beach benefits the local economy and helps pay for public safety, schools, street repairs, parks maintenance, recreation opportunities and other City services,” said Mayor Richard Montgomery. “Our businesses help preserve our small-town beach character and now, more than ever, we should shop and dine locally to support them through these trying times,” he said.

Small businesses have long been a backbone of Manhattan Beach, bringing distinctive services to the city and its guests, as well as supporting the community, including schools and nonprofits.

“We hope that as a community we can rally together to support local business to help the community survive the pandemic and effectively recover when the virus has run its course,” said Kelly Stroman, president/CEO of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Local businesses provide employment opportunities, entertainment and fun for families, and most importantly keeps dollars close to home to help the local economy.”

Shoppers and community members are encouraged to use #MBLocalLove and tag @downtownmanhattanbeach, @mbchamber, @cityofmb and @mbparksandrec when shopping at local Manhattan Beach businesses.

“Local Love for Manhattan Beach” is a multi-media campaign that functions as an educational tool to help residents understand the importance of supporting local businesses by shopping, dining and staying in ManhattanBeach. To initiate the campaign, the City has prepared a short video.

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Wisconsin Dells School District will switch cleaning products after students report clothing damage | Local Education

Wisconsin Dells School District will switch its disinfectant to clean frequently touched surfaces to kill the COVID-19 virus after reports of damage to students’ clothing.

Buildings and Grounds Director Scott Walsh said the school district will switch from using Vital Oxide to a hydrogen peroxide based disinfectant product after reports from parents saying their childrens’ clothing have been damaged from the product. He said the high school will switch products this week while the middle and elementary school will also discontinue the use of Vital Oxide.

Walsh said he received some complaints from the high school level about damaged clothing while some have also come at the elementary school level.

“It hasn’t been a lot of complaints,” Walsh said.

Walsh believed students would sit on the treated surface before it had dried, which might have damaged clothing. The disinfectant also could have affected certain fabrics or dyes in the clothing, he said.

The clothing damage complaints is the only reason the school district is switching disinfectants to kill the coronavirus. According to the company’s website Vital Oxide is an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant cleaner, mold and mildew killer, and odor eliminator and was recently approved by the agency for use to kill the novel coronavirus. 

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NYT Style Magazine: Lee Statue in its current state is the most influential work of protest art since World War II | Richmond Local News

The Monument Avenue statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, in its current graffitied state with overlaying condemnations of police violence and white supremacy, has been named the most influential work of protest art since World War II by The New York Times Style Magazine. 

The list of 25 works released Thursday was assembled by artists, museum curators and magazine contributors and focused on visual art, with each participant asked about the works’ impact, endurance and meaning.

One called the Lee space “a reclaimed location.” 

“There were projections on it, it became an activist site. The transformation of that space, to me, felt like exactly what protest art is,” said Catherine Opie, an artist and professor of photography at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The day I was there, I had a big camera with me, so multiple families would ask me to take their portrait in front of the statue, which I would do with their cellphones — and just in that way, it became activated,” Opie said.

Another deemed it a “kaleidoscopic display of communal, collective action.” 

“People who once avoided the statue now make pilgrimages to see what has become an emblem of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as a newly diverse public gathering space,” wrote Zoë Lescaze, an art critic for The New York Times.

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Giving: Matching gift challenge raises money for Girl Scout STEM van | Local News

STEM van

Girls Scouts will work on STEM activities in this new mobile unit that hits the road Dec. 1.

Girl Scouts of the Virginia Skyline Council is taking STEM on the road with its new Mobile STEM Center.

The Girl Scouts are equipping a $27,718 van for the council’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

It is the result of a matching gift challenge in which three anonymous donors, all members of the Roanoke Women’s Foundation, offered matching gifts in the amount of $10,000 to help Girl Scouts close the gap on the Mobile STEM Center project.

Under the project, a $10 donation matched by the donors was worth $20, and a $20 donation was worth $40.

The mobile unit is scheduled to hit the road Dec. 1.

Nationwide, Girl Scouts of the USA has pledged to add 2.5 million girls to the STEM pipeline by 2025. The Skyline Council serves 5,300 girls.

In November 2019, the Roanoke Women’s Foundation awarded the local council a $30,000 grant to launch the Mobile STEM Center, a van outfitted with equipment such as robotics kits, Chromebooks, WiFi and microscopes.

The project’s total budget is $75,000. In addition to the grant funds, individual donors have contributed another $15,000 to the project.

AEP turns scrap metal into donation for Ronald McDonald House

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