I’m sure you’ve heard of flash mobs. Where a group, usually organized through Twitter descends on a public place to perform a choreographed dance to the delight of surprised onlookers. Well, a Cash Mob is a useful, practical variation of that same idea. In a cash mob, participants are organized through Twitter and other social media to descend on a predetermined local business where they will each spend $10-$20. Its sort of the Anti-Groupon. Where instead of businesses offering huge discounts on their products to attract the mob, the cash mob brings people into the store to buy things at retail prices.
Initially launching in August here in Buffalo, NY the idea for cash mobs has since spread to several other cities across the country. Studies have shown that for every dollar spent at a locally owned business 45% of the revenue will stay within the local community, and another 9% will stay within the state. In contrast, for every dollar spent at a national chain, only about 14% of the revenue will stay within the local economy. With just about all the rest being sent away to wherever the suppliers and headquarters of the company may be located.
In a slowly improving, yet still struggling economy such as the one we’re facing sometimes people have to take matters into their own hands to get the ball rolling on improvement. People always talk about wanting to help the local economy and support local business, but sometimes it’s not until a grass-roots effort like cash mobs are started that anyone acts on those desires.
Does it work? Well, the first cash mob held in Buffalo back in August rounded up more than 100 people to shop at a local wine shop, helping to more than triple business for the store owner. The most recent cash mob took place just last week, according to the report on their facebook page the owner of the mobbed store said that she did 10x her usual sales.
I’ve yet to take part in one of the cash mobs, but fully plan to join in the next one. The best part is that it only requires spending a small amount of money to have a real impact on a local business. So anyone should be able to take part, regardless of your personal budget.
What do you think of the idea? Have cash mobs come to your city? Have you, or will you take part if and when they do? Let me know in the comments below, especially if you’re going to take the initiative to start your own local cash mob!