Buy Local Program Is a Win-Win-Win for Maps Credit Union, Members, and Local Business Partners
What Maps Credit Union program has encouraged a 174% increase of debit card transactions and a 202% increase in dollars spent at our local business partners in less than two years? The answer is Maps’ Buy Local program — an innovative ‘win-win-win’ program for community members, local businesses and our credit union.
Before I share with you regarding the present ins and outs of the program and where it’s heading, I want to share a little history about how this program came to life.
Buy Local Supports Locally Owned Businesses
In early 2010, Oregon constituents voted to pass ballot measures that imposed an additional tax on local businesses. With an already tough economy, these two measures represented an even more difficult road ahead. Months into 2010, we saw a multitude of local businesses closing their doors. In an effort to support the local economies of which we serve, the Marketing and Development departments brainstormed a new and innovative program called Buy Local.
Buy Local was created at the end of 2010 and launched alongside our organization-wide rebrand and website makeover in early 2011. The program, which can be found online, helped introduce an interactive website that is used for so much more than merely logging into online banking. The program launched with success and has progressed exponentially in website traffic, debit card transactions, and dollars spent with local businesses.
The Buy Local program partners with brick-and-mortar businesses that accept debit and credit cards. This partnership is completely free for locally owned businesses that qualify, and there are two routes to take within the program.
Members Receive Exclusive Discounts
The first route is called the Ongoing Offer. For one calendar year, each business will be advertised on the Buy Local section of our website and within our branches as a partner who offers exclusive discounts to our Maps members who use their debit/credit card to make their purchase.
In addition to the Ongoing Offer, some businesses qualify to participate in the second route called the Featured Partner Period. During this two-week period the Featured Partner is featured and advertised throughout our various outlets: the front page of our website, Buy Local displays, Facebook, and statement inserts. This blast of free marketing for the Featured Partner highlights their Featured Offer, a free product or service offered by the businesses and available to any member or non-member. The best part about this two-week Featured Offer is that Maps reimburses the business for each and every coupon that is redeemed for the free item. Both members and non-members can take advantage of the Featured Offer and enjoy trying a new business or support a known favorite.
The program has not only affected our local businesses, members, and community, but it has drawn attention from other organizations such as our local Saturday Market and Chamber of Commerce. The Saturday Market offered us exclusive sponsorship of their city-wide markets and for the second year in a row, the partnership has been a perfect match in promoting and supporting buying local. Our Chamber of Commerce asked us to sponsor a new program called Member Marketplace, a platform where businesses can advertise and sell to other businesses or to the local community, and where anyone can request a good or service from the businesses that are members of the Chamber. Both of these wonderful partnerships support buying local!
Technology Helps Buy Local Go Mobile
What’s on the immediate horizon for Buy Local? We’re about ready to launch our mobile app with geo locating, geo fencing alerts, and abilities to post offers on various social media outlets. We’re also in the process of developing a rewards program for our Visa card holders who will be rewarded with extra points for shopping with our partners. It doesn’t get much better for Maps members — rewards for buying local complete with exclusive discounts and extra rewards points!
As for long-term Buy Local plans, I want this program to affect local economies all over the country like it has affected ours. What a great way to enhance the CU movement and share our philosophy of “people helping people” than establishing Buy Local networks across the USA available to any CU member. For those who travel, locating CU friendly businesses and supporting local economies on the go will be as easy as activating the national Buy Local app. It will be wonderful to know our member’s dollars are spent sustaining local economies all over the country.
Go, Buy Local!