CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Small businesses are seeing an uptick in sales after joining a smartphone app that rewards people for shopping local.
John Cassidy is co-owner of Duplicates Ink. His company has been in business for over 20 years.
After seeing many small businesses in Conway fail, John and his team wanted to help.
“We said that we needed to come up with some way that we could collectively come together, all the small businesses and market. And leverage our marketing dollars in a way that can compete with the big box stores,” said Cassidy.
In 2018 Cassidy and his developer created the “We Are Conway” app.
The app was downloaded more than 14,000 times since launching.
Cassidy says the majority of that number was downloaded independently, as the app made its way to Apple and Android app stores just last week.
Nearly 30 small businesses have joined the app and offer exclusive deals to their customers who have it.
Joe Sutherland owns Joey’s Doggz near the Conway Riverwalk. His restaurant has been in business since January.
Sutherland joined “We Are Conway” two months ago and is one of the app’s most successful businesses.
“When they come in 10 times and spend $10, they get 10 stamps and they win $20 Conway Cash that they can spend at any business that’s in this app in Conway,” said Sutherland.
“Conway Cash” is earned when a participating business electronically “punches” a profile’s “punch card.” After 10 visits a customer earns a $20 gift certificate that can be spent at any store found in the app.
Robert DeGiovine is a Joey’s Doggz regular after downloading the app. He is working to earn his 10 punches and earn Conway Cash.
“No rewards yet, but we’re working on it. As many times as we’ve been here, looks like we’re going to get it any time soon. Less than a week, yes,” said DeGiovine.
Some businesses use the app to offer exclusive deals or their own rewards program.
“Two Simply Southern t-shirts for $29.50, so that’s really kind of a good deal. And then we have a local rewards that is our hat program. So you buy 10 hats and you get your 11th free,” said Kailyn Johnson of Papa’s General Store.
“We Are Conway” is free to download in both Apple and Android app stores.
Local stores interested in joining the app can reach John Cassidy by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 843-248-2574.