We just celebrated our second anniversary! And let me tell you, this has been a good one. We have over 12,500 LOVEVAs using the app and we’ve had over 55,000 transactions! We’ve grown usage by over 200% which is a pretty big deal!! We average more than 500 new accounts a month and more than 100 hearts are earned every day. That’s a lot of dollars staying in the local community!

We love being out and about meeting consumers and businesses alike. This year we attended the Spring Town Point Wine Festival, Harborfest, Summer Brewfest, Embrace the Culture ETC Festival, Ribtoberfest, Spring and Fall Crafted Festivals, My Time Women’s Show, Dock Dogs, Modern Femme Movement, and a couple of Showbride Bridal Events.

We were all over the Southside and Peninsula. We spent weekend after weekend at events this year not just talking up the app and encouraging people to download, but explaining why shopping locally is so important. So many people don’t realize that having a strong independent business sector creates more jobs with higher wages, an increased wealth of residents, higher home values, lower taxes, stronger non-profits, a healthier community, and more democratic residents.

We truly want to thank you all for helping to support and promote the program this year. A special shout out goes to the LOVEVA Steering Committee members, all those who donated gifts for our Facebook contests, and our community partners who helped make this year great. BUT obviously our biggest thank you goes out to YOU, our wonderful business owners, who understand our mission and want to see more people shopping locally across Hampton Roads.

One way for us to continue to grow is through your business support. Not just you, but your employees too. Your team needs to be trained on how the app works, how to use the QR codes, how to give rewards, and how to answer some basic questions they may receive about the app and buying local in general.

Your membership director will gladly come and train your team. Just reach out to us, we’re here to help you. Remember, buying local supports not only your business, but the local schools, local charities, local community and your family.

Here are a couple of best practices real quickly.

First, make sure your team downloads the app to see how it works. The more they use it in their personal lives, the better advocates they will be for the program. The better advocates they are, the more transactions you’ll incur. Second, I would make sure the QR code is in a place that is visible to the consumer. Take it out from behind the register! Put that thing on the counter, and make it as easy as possible for a busy shopper and your busy staff to get and give some love! If you need some new QR codes, just shoot us an email and we’ll get them to you.

The holiday season is upon us and LOVEVA is a great way to reward shoppers for frequenting your business!