Young woman client choosing cabbages standing with shop worker in the vegetable department of the supermarket

An Australian-developed loyalty program is sweeping through small, local retailers, helping them reel in consumers as new research finds SMEs are optimistic about future growth.

Thousands of retailers have joined Locify, a new ‘shop local’ program which is helping small retailers get big customers.

The program allows members to earn points by shopping at participating local business and redeem them at these local stores.

Locify founder Meyrick Adams and Aaron Chua

Businesses in 30 suburbs across Australia now use the platform, which has attracted 44,000 customers and seen $6 million spent in local businesses.

Users can use the app or go online to find participating retailers, while businesses are alerted when member’s arrive in-store and can process transactions through the app.

The company says the platform has been proven to increase the size and number of transactions and help them retain new customers while building on their existing customer base.

The platform was developed by Meyrick Adams alongside Phil Gunter, who helped take Virgin’s popular Velocity rewards scheme global.

Locify Chairman and investor, John Mactaggart, said the platform was hugely disruptive for SME’s.

“Locify is a game changer for all types of local businesses with a much simpler and efficient solution than paper or card based models,” he said.

“It allows any business to offer very generous rewards to customers that can be used anywhere they see the Locify sign.”

SME’s dreaming big: research

The news comes as research reveals that SME’s are positive about the coming year.

Westpac’s Small Business Report last week found small businesses are optimistic about the year ahead – with 72 per cent saying they expect growth in revenue in the coming year.

The report found favourable market conditions and the government’s infrastructure splash is resonating with SME’s sentiment.

Small business revenue is growing rapidly, the report found, with admin and support services, manufacturing and arts and recreation services the top performing industries.

Despite the positive sentiment, more support was needed, with the report indicating that a third of business owners said they are employing fewer people today than 12 months ago and a third of SME’s have taken on a second job or side hustle to supplement household income.