It’s a Chamber of Commerce duty for the modern era: the Retail Council of New York State launched an initiative for which the goal is to keep shoppers buying from their local stores, rather than online. “I Shop New York” offers discounts and other incentives to consumers to counteract the pull of the Web.
The Retail Council, which is a non-profit trade organization, lets New Yorkers search for offers from local merchants and encourages merchants to sign up, display “I Shop New York” signage, and join the campaign. Between the two sides’ participation, the Retail Council’s overall goal is to educate consumers on the importance of buying from local businesses, and to support those businesses via programs to save money (which includes offering workers’ comp insurance programs and cheaper ways to process credit cards).
On the consumer end, the organization’s initiative is still fairly small — there are just a few local retailer offers right now. However, it represents something bigger in terms of a real-world push against the lure of online commerce. Despite its grassroots image, “I Shop New York,” with more participants and expansion to other states, could be nationally effective. And as more consumers move online, the program looks like a harbinger of bigger movements to come, at the physical end of the retail spectrum.