Support for a new app for Southbankers is rising

Support for a new app for Southbankers is rising
Jeremy Vincent

The old saying that you should never waste a crisis was true for the Yarra River Business Association (YRBA) during and after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Robbed of tourists and corporate business, all that our businesses were left with was the local community. However, very few businesses knew anything about the needs and wants of the local residents, and fewer still had ever bothered to reach out to them.

The lockdowns highlighted to us that the residents of 3006 should be a key part of their members’ business modelling. Not only to open-up a new market, but also as an insurance policy if such an economic catastrophe should arise again. A real and authentic connection with the people of Southbank needs to be a major aim of most of business members.

However, until recently we have not had the data to enable our businesses to understand residents’ needs and wants. YRBA has just released the first major piece of data highlighting the behavioural patterns of Southbankers, including what they are seeking from the 3006 business community.

Many of you may have been involved in contributing to the granular data gathering between November 2022 and May this year. If you did, then may we extend our sincere thanks.

Right Angle is a Sydney-based consultancy, with a Melbourne office. They prepared and supervised the survey, which reached around 300 residents of 3006, all of whom provided very valuable and often detailed feedback.

The list of recommendations arising from the survey is too numerous to mention here, but one statistic jumped out at us. The difficulty of communicating with residents of 3006 has long been a problem. More than 70 per cent of survey respondents said that they would really appreciate and benefit from an app that could both “push” and “pull” information to them about local events, special offers and discounts available only to the locals.

Initial chats with local businesses has also elicited enthusiasm about being part of an app that would help to bridge the community-business divide. How good would it be to be recognised by a business as a “local” and to gain special offers? For example, a restaurant may decide at 3pm that their bookings are down for that evening, and so be able to quickly issue a post on the app that offers 40 per cent discount that evening to local people upon production of the offer on their smartphone. How good for a local theatre to be able to let locals know at 5.30pm that they have 30 seats to that night’s 8pm performance at 50 per cent discount.

See how it could work? It benefits local business, and it provides a real service to local people and, hopefully, through the process helps to build a greater sense of belonging and community.

So, stay tuned. YRBA looks forward to working over the next six months with the Southbank Residents’ Association on the finessing of such an app. 

If you’re interested, watch for the advertisement in next month’s Southbank News about a lunch we are running in November, when Right Angle will be detailing the major findings of the 3006 resident survey. •

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