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Home /  CASE STUDIES /  Case Study - Visit West End Gift Card

Key facts

  • Name of area – Byres Road & Lanes Business Improvement District (BID) in the West End of Glasgow
  • Number of retailers accepting gift card – 65
  • Independents and/or multiples? – Independents; looking to add multiples this year
  • When implemented – December 2016
  • How it’s managed – By Byres Road & Lanes BID
  • Gift Card website – http://visitwestendcard.com/ 


About Byres Road & Lanes

The West End of Glasgow has long been a favourite destination for people who live, work and study in the city. It’s also a must-visit destination for the millions of people that visit Glasgow every year.

Byres Road and the famous “Lanes” that lead from it are in the heart of the West End, and boast many hidden gems. Transport links are numerous and the University of Glasgow is nearby. It’s the perfect area to browse and socialise.

The Byres Road & Lanes BID manages the Visit West End Card.

What We Did

Why did Byres Road & Lanes BID want a Gift Card programme?

BID manager Deborah Murray says, “We wanted to try to keep spend local. We’re facing competition from online and from out of town – in Glasgow we’ve got Braehead, Silverburn and Buchanan Galleries which are large shopping centres with their own gift cards. We’re providing a platform where the West End could be seen as a real alternative to those newer out-of-town places. 

“Our rates and rents are very high here, too, which makes trading difficult. We’re also seeing areas such as Finnieston and Kelvinbridge improving, which is great for the city but the rates have been much lower there and it’s competition. We wanted to do something that would set us apart and be a point of distinction.”
 

How did the Gift Card programme get started?

Deborah says, “We put the proposal to the board and they invited Colin Munro from Miconex to give a presentation to them. That was well-received and the in-principle agreement to go ahead was made. Our chairperson is a lawyer, and he wanted to make sure that it was just right, as it was a big financial commitment. We needed to make sure that we were following due process and doing due diligence. We were probably quite slow by Miconex’s standards! But they made it very simple, and prompted us when necessary without being rude, which is quite an art in itself.”

 

Bringing in the retailers

There are 65 outlets spread over an area of just a few square kilometres, including gift shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, hair salons and a leisure club.

To get the retailers on board, Colin Munro and Richard Gray from Miconex came for the initial sign-up process. Deborah recalls, “They are very experienced in what they do, and they signed up 57 businesses in two days.”

The Outcome

Benefits for the area

Deborah says, “It gives us a platform to compete on an even playing field with the retail giants. And some of the online sales [of our card] were from places outside of the district. One person in the Stirling area bought £300 of Gift Cards! I think as we publicise it more, and we’ll be doing that via social media, where our reach is quite extensive geographically, we should be able to pull in more money to the West End from elsewhere. 

“I also want to use them as business incentives, to get businesses to use them instead of a Marks & Spencer card, for example.”

Benefits for the retailers

It’s early days for the West End business, but how do the business owners feel it will help them?  
Margaret McLaughlin, from The Hill Bar and Restaurant, is an enthusiastic accepter of the gift card: "I think that the Visit West End Card is a fantastic idea. It will really encourage people to shop, eat and socialise in this area. We joined the card programme in December 2016 and found the sign-up process really easy. Our customers are enthusiastic about it too - they like the fact you can shop in lots of different places with the same card and not have to use it all at once."
 
John Turner, from arts/crafts gift shop Janet & John, says, “Signing up to take the Visit West End Card was a really easy decision. Anything that brings more customers to the area has to be a good idea. It works with our existing Visa machine and there's no extra cost or commitment. It's actually a present I would like to receive myself!"

Deborah adds, “The first Visit West End Card that was redeemed was by someone who won a £50 card in a competition we ran. They ended up buying something that cost more than £50, which was great for the retailer.”
 

Next steps

The BID team will also start working with the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to promote the Visit West End Gift Card.

  • 1
    It’s the perfect present

    It’s a great present for friends and family - this is the obvious one! 

  • 2
    Customers #shoplocal

    It supports the local economy

  • 3
    You can reward your staff

    It can be used as an incentive or reward by local businesses and organisations

  • 4
    People can club together

    It makes a great wedding present
    or leaving gift

  • 5
    Customers discover new businesses

    15% of redemptions are at new businesses

  • 6
    There’s additional spend

    People that redeem gift cards on average spend 40% more than the value received

  • 7
    It’s flexible

    The card can be used in multiple business

  • 8
    It’s easy to implement

    It’s easy for businesses to get involved as the existing Visa network is used

  • 9
    A new revenue stream

    It provides a new revenue stream for the town/city via breakage

  • 10
    People can club together

    It makes a great wedding present or leaving gift

  • 11
    It’s a visitor pass

    It can be used as a visitor pass by offering discounted entry for attractions

Linekdin
  • "We wanted to try to keep spend local"

    “We’re facing competition from online and from out of town –in GlasgoW we’ve got Braehead, Silverburn and Buchanan Galleries which are large shopping centres with their own gift cards. We’re providing a platform where the West End could be seen as a real alternative to those newer out-of-town places."

    Deborah Murray, BID Project Manager, West End, Glasgow
  • "I think that the Visit West End Card is a fantastic idea"

    "It will really encourage people to shop, eat and socialise in this area. We joined the card programme in December 2016 and found the sign-up process really easy. Our customers are enthusiastic about it too - they like the fact you can shop in lots of different places with the same card and not have to use it all at once."

    Margaret McLaughlin, The Hill Bar and Restaurant, West End, Glasgow