The Shop Local Kirkland initiative is driven to create a vibrant, prosperous, and resilient commercial ecosystem for all Kirkland businesses. The core of the initiative is the ShopLocalKirkland.com web portal, a digital main street where businesses can be found, promoted, and connected to customers. The website is a low-barrier and inclusive piece of digital infrastructure that provides a no-cost online presence and promotion and marketing services to any Kirkland-based business. At the time of writing, more than 300 local businesses benefit from digital storefronts on the platform.
The Shop Local Kirkland initiative responds to the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Kirkland’s business community and is designed to help local businesses survive and thrive through WA State’s Safe Start Plan and beyond. A hyper-local, digital marketplace, Shop Local Kirkland is a vibrant, prosperous, and resilient online economy for all Kirkland businesses. The platform www.ShopLocalKirkland.com houses business storefronts on a digital main street enables eCommerce, and connects shoppers to local businesses. A vigorous media and incentive marketing program will drive traffic through the portal and dollars into the local economy.
Small businesses stand as the lifeblood of Kirkland's vibrant economy. Across the United States, these enterprises serve as the backbone of economic growth, contributing significantly to the nation's GDP. In Kirkland specifically, a staggering 98% of businesses fall under the category of small businesses, boasting fewer than 50 employees each. These local establishments play a pivotal role in defining Kirkland's unique character. They embody the essence of community, offering personalized experiences and fostering a sense of belonging among residents. Their impact extends beyond commerce; they contribute to the fabric of the city, enhancing its cultural diversity and driving innovation.
While the challenges faced by small businesses vary, the resilience they demonstrate in the face of adversity is commendable. There's a need for these enterprises to adapt to changing times, embracing digital transformation to expand their reach and cater to evolving consumer preferences. Research reveals a disparity between the growing trend of online consumerism and the digital presence of Kirkland's businesses. A significant portion, approximately 20% of licensed businesses in the city, lack any online presence. Furthermore, nearly half of the remaining businesses do not facilitate online transactions. In an era where online purchasing is increasingly prevalent, these statistics underline the necessity for businesses to establish a robust digital footprint. The evolving landscape calls for a transformation where businesses not only maintain their physical presence but also thrive in the digital realm.
The Shop Local Kirkland initiative emerges as a beacon of support for these small enterprises. It aims to facilitate a transition to a more digitally empowered ecosystem, nurturing a marketplace where local businesses can flourish both physically and online. By encouraging and assisting these businesses in their digital transformation, the initiative aims to fortify a sustainable economy that upholds the essence of Kirkland's vibrant community. In essence, the prosperity of Kirkland's small businesses intertwines with the city's overall prosperity. As they adapt and evolve to meet the demands of a changing landscape, they continue to remain the heartbeat of Kirkland's economic and cultural vitality.
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