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How to ride the “local” wave

How to ride the “local” wave

Everywhere you look these days, shops are showcasing the fact that they have "gone local," meaning their wares come from nearby farmers, artists or craftsman. Many shoppers will purposefully seek out retailers who offer goods that didn't have to be shipped overseas or across the country, so if you have some local goods on your shelves and wall displays, then it's time to get the word out.

Make a local window display
The best way to let shoppers know that your store supports its community is to make a window display all about your local products. Place a few adult and child mannequins in the window dressed up in some of your most local goods. If you don't sell clothes, you can simply put a display table or gondola shelving in the window and stack it with your products. Then, create big, colorful tags that say the town name, neighborhood or state that created the product, and tie them to the items with wholesale ribbon.

You can also play off technology by creating a map that looks like a GPS display on a smart phone. Use pins or paper drawings to mark the spots where your items are made. You can place this in your display window, or attach it to display cases and tables inside the shop.

Organize your store geographically
The way you organize your store can also help push your local items off the shelf. Think of your space as a giant map, and arrange your store accordingly. This can help retailers who are proud not just of their local items, but also the interesting pieces they get from other countries. Group items on racks and display fixtures based on their nation of origin. You can have a display table full of South American crafts, for instance, or a set of mannequins wearing high fashion from France. As shoppers move through your store, it will be as though they're taking a tour of the world.

Create profiles for suppliers
Shoppers who love local items will also likely enjoy reading about the people who are behind the products you sell. You can create brief biographies about these individuals and tape them near the items for sale. Or, you can use social media to Tweet or post about the people who help make the goods in your store.