Due to COVID-19 closures, the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust needed a quick solution to help fund local businesses. The non-profit trusted TechArk to develop a successful e-commerce platform for the Downtown Dollars program.
- Gloucester, Virginia
The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust ensures the economic vitality, community development and sustainability of Gloucester’s downtown district. So, when the COVID-19 crisis threatened the local businesses in this rural community, the non-profit needed a way to help guarantee they would succeed after re-opening.
They quickly came up with the Downtown Dollars program, an online marketplace where customers could come to purchase gift cards to the many different restaurants and retail shops online in one place. It was a great idea to filter funds to the village, but they needed an expert like us to help flesh it out—fast—and help them create a buying platform. They wanted a portal they could control, a fluid e-commerce solution that was user-friendly, secure and responsive.
After researching the competition, the Preservation Trust decided to go with TechArk for this project because they believed in the value of working with a company that has respect and integrity as an organization and that would see them as not just a client but also a partner. No matter the issues they would face, they trusted that we were invested in figuring them out.
Thanks to a grant from the Virginia Main Street program, the Downtown Dollars marketplace needed to allow consumers to purchase the gift certificates to Gloucester Main Street Businesses at 30% less the face value and redeem for 100% of the face value. The businesses would still receive 100% of the value of the gift certificate, with the Preservation Trust using the grant to underwrite the cost of the other 30%.
After considering their need for a streamlined and reliable online payment process that was easy and secure, we decided to use a Stripe payment system to manage all the e-commerce purchases. Customers could easily and securely buy the discounted certificates, and printable vouchers were automatically sent to both the business and the consumer. The buying platform also generated reports (average spending, amount of transactions, and the number of vouchers yielded from transactions).
Just 12 days after the Downtown Dollars portal opened and promotion began, it sold more than $102,000 in voucher value, equal to $71,527.40 in net sales. Sales kicked off with a very large purchase by a donor of more than $40,000 in value.
There have been a total of 228 orders and 2,268 vouchers purchased, with more than 840 given to the Riverside Walter Reed Hospital employees from the large donors—two, $50 gift vouchers gifted to more than 420 employees.
As of early July 2020, $36,654.60 in value has been redeemed in Gloucester’s downtown businesses. We were thrilled to help support these fellow local business owners during the pandemic as a trusted partner.
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