Get It Local Today balances shopping convenience and local store support.

I’m sure I don’t need to point out that our world is changing. Things are moving faster, technology is creating efficiencies where we never dreamed they would be, and data is becoming extremely vital. As an example, GE is working on technology that will enable you to be notified shortly before a hose on your dishwasher breaks—because they’ll have the data to tell them when it’s about to happen. Don’t you wish that had been available the last time your kitchen flooded?

And all of the changes affecting how your customers think and shop, making buying decisions quickly is becoming the norm. Seeing an item in an email makes it very easy to jump online and purchase from Amazon. Discovering a great new product in your catalog is wonderful, but the desire to order from home and the reliability of knowing the item is in stock and will be delivered is hard to resist.

However, customers also want to support local businesses. They understand their tax dollars support schools, local law enforcement, and other key aspects of their daily life. Plus, their friends work in those stores and the salaries from local employees turn into tithes at their place of worship. So how can you jump into the middle of this balancing act your customers are trying to navigate?

SUPPORT LOCAL STORES

CBA’s Get It Local Today program does just that. It meets customers where they are and serves them in the way they want to be served. It works like this: A consumer visits a publisher’s website and is interested in purchasing a book or Bible. Instead of a link to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, the publisher has a link to the Get It Local Today website. When the consumer clicks through to that site, they’re provided with a list of all the Christian stores near them, along with the current stocking levels of the product they’ve clicked on.

The customer can then choose the most convenient store and reserve the product to be picked up in-store. The store is notified to pull the product off the shelf and place it on hold. The store then gets the visit from the customer, captures the sale, and has the opportunity for add-on sales. They can also capture customer information in their POS so they can continue to market to them in the future—all without losing the sale to an online retailer.

Plus, if the vendor wants to offer a great deal to the customer while still protecting the margin for the store, the backend data reporting will take care of that. An existing post-sale credit-reporting mechanism will watch for items at those tremendous sale prices and report to the publishers which stores need credits to offset their cost.

SUPPORT INDUSTRY UNITY

This incredible program is one more example of the Christian retail industry coming together: CBA driving this new initiative, The Parable Group supplying the data and backend reporting to protect store’s margin, and The Covenant Group building and maintaining the Get It Local Today site that makes it all possible.

Plus, there’s no cost to either stores or publishers. It’s included in CROSS:SCAN, and it’s completely hands-free. As a storeowner, you just need to visit GetItLocalToday.com/enroll to sign up. You’ll need to verify your store information, and then you’ll be provided with instructions on how to get your data transferring into CROSS:SCAN. That’s all it takes, and your store is now part of an industrywide, customer-serving service like never before.

For more information on Get It Local Today, visit cbaonline.org/get-local-today/.

—Erik Ernstrom