Storbie is passionate about people finding and buying local products and services. In our Shop Local article series, we talk to retailers, town centre managers and passionate people about what makes their local area unique and how they’re spreading the word within and beyond their community.
Shop Local Promotions Working For Howick Village
With nearly a third of Kiwis now using a smartphone to find local information, Howick Village in Auckland knows it is important to provide local businesses, residents and visitors with a tool that facilitates local engagement on mobile devices. We spoke to Jenny Foster, Howick Village Business Association Manager, about how exciting town events combined with digital channels work together to promote Howick’s unique combination of heritage town and boutique shopping destination. Read on to see the types of town promotions that are working for Howick.
Tell us a bit about Howick
Howick is a historic area of Auckland with many heritage buildings from colonial New Zealand. The Howick Historical Village, a living museum and a fascinating showcase of colonial New Zealand, is a popular tourist attraction.
Howick is also home to many long-standing local businesses and a loyal community of ‘Howickians’, often described as a rural community in the middle of a supercity.
Howick is ‘delightfully different’ and you’re sure to fall in love with our seaside village filled with cafes and boutique shopping!
What activities does the Howick Village Association get involved in to promote Howick?
We have many popular events that bring lots of people in to town. For example Kiwiana or Town & Country themed events that businesses and locals really get behind. There are prizes for shopping locally during the month of the event.
We run a Farmer’s Market every Saturday that is hugely popular. It not only benefits the market stallholders, but also the local businesses by way of so many people frequenting the market.
We make sure to measure the success of what we’re doing and the general pulse of the community by doing questionnaires, street number counts, and collecting figures and statistics on spending in each category.
What promotion do you undertake online?
Traditionally, the majority of our target market was older women, but now we’re seeing a lot of 25-35 year olds with young families moving into the area.
We’re really trying to provide the platforms and tools to make sure Howick businesses align with the changing retail landscape.
We launched the Howick Village app – businesses can log in and add information, products, and promotions. The app shares town events, promotions, has GPS, and will be able to send push notifications to Facebook. It’s like a virtual shopping assistant for Howick on your smartphone.
We also have someone dedicated to building our presence on Facebook and we’re seeing really positive engagement from sharing posts about what’s going on in the village day-to-day, what businesses are doing, and what’s happening at town events.
It’s about continuing to educate our local businesses and providing them easy access to online tools.