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Aug 4, 2015 8:15 AM ET

Archived: Small Shops United: Small Shops United uses digital loyalty and rewards to encourage local shopping, capture customer behavior, and help small businesses better connect to new and existing customers.

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 4, 2015
Personal Story

I was born in 1971, son of two public school teachers, and younger brother of John Tallmadge, a.k.a. “The Instigator.” I spent much of my youth focused on athletics, and was lucky enough to have been a part of a state championship basketball team in 1989. I went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where sports were reduced to recreation, and my focus shifted to more academic interests. I earned a B.A. in Advertising through the School of Journalism, including an amazing experience studying abroad in London, England. It was during this international experience that I began to truly understand how to be responsible for myself and others.

I’ve had the good fortune of living in a number of wonderful cities and communities around the United States in my adult life, including Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Greenville, SC, New York City, and, of course, Milwaukee, WI. It was in the West Village of NYC that I conceived my business idea, but it was in my hometown of Milwaukee where I knew I needed to begin. I moved back to Wauwatosa in November of 2011, where I took up familiar residence with my old childhood roommates (my parents). This proved to be a necessary step while I worked on my startup business.

While my immediate dreams include getting out of my parents’ house (I love you mom and dad, but it’s been way too long), I hope to soon be scaling our services to small businesses around the country. I have recently partnered with Aaron Saray, a bright mind and an extremely talented web developer, and together we are going to make this vision come true.

Business Description

If you’re a small business owner, it’s very difficult and often very expensive to find new customers. We’re making it easy and affordable.

Small Shops United (SSU) uses digital loyalty and rewards to encourage local shopping, capture customer behavior, and help small businesses better connect to new and existing customers.

Here’s how we’re doing it:

Any consumer can create a free online account at smallshopsunited.com, where they are assigned a unique member ID to use with the loyalty programs of every participating merchant in our network. Points are awarded and redeemed in stores using our proprietary merchant-facing application, allowing us to record the transactions, build customer profiles, and provide customer insights back to the businesses. This is all valuable information, but what we’re about to build is where it gets exciting…

Soon we will begin work on the SSU Message Center. This provides business owners a direct channel to connect with existing customers. During setup, merchants will create personalized messages and set trigger points to determine precisely when each message should send. (For example, I might create a reminder to go out to any customer that has not visited my store in the past 6 months). By automating the process, we’re eliminating the need for merchants to manage this new marketing channel. We do it for them!

Once the SSU Message Center is operational, we will leverage our entire database of customers to help small businesses segment and target new customers with relevant offers. With each campaign, we’ll demonstrate to the merchants how many people were targeted, who opened it, who claimed it, who redeemed it in-store, and how much they spent when they redeemed. We’ll push the results to the merchants, so they know exactly what their return on investment is for each campaign.

What is the purpose of this loan?

A $10,000 loan from Kiva Zip means everything to us. The funds will go to the following:

– Web and Mobile Development ($5,000)
– Web and Mobile Design ($3,500)
– Marketing and Working Capital ($1,500)

We are on the verge of launching new products that will drive significant and sustainable revenue for the first time. This has been four years in the making, and we’re finally in a position to start reaping the rewards of an incredible amount of work; however, we still need a little financial help to get there first. With a loan through Kiva Zip, we’re going to realize this vision, and begin to change the way consumers connect to the local businesses in the neighborhood.

Contact Information:


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