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Home /  CASE STUDIES /  Case Study – The Kendal Gift Card

Key facts

  • Name of town – Kendal
  • Size of population – 24,500
  • Number of businesses accepting – 105
  • Independents and/or multiples? – Both
  • When was the Gift Card implemented? – September 2016
  • How it’s managed – Kendal Business Improvement District (BID)
  • Kendal Card website – http://thekendalcard.co.uk/

 

About Kendal

Kendal is a vibrant market town in the Lake District, one of the most beautiful areas of the UK. Close to the sea and to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the town is a popular base for tourists, walkers and sightseers.

The Kendal Gift Card programme is run by Sarah Williams, manager of the town’s Business Improvement District (BID). The Kendal Card is shaped like a piece of the town’s famed Mint Cake!

What We Did

Why did Kendal want a Gift Card programme?

Sarah Williams, BID Manager for Kendal, says, “I was looking for some key projects for the town. We could have gone down the usual route that a lot of BIDs have gone down, i.e. have lots of festivals, one-off hits, that are good for the day, that may have softly shown some increase in business income. But we needed something that would have longer effects, be sustainable and keep the money in the town.

“Also, Kendal is in a beautiful part of the country, but we have a bypass so people sometimes forget we’re here. And we’ve got so much to offer. So producing a gift card, shaped as a piece of Mint Cake – that could be used in independents as well as in corporates – we felt that was the way to go.

“We also needed a programme that was measurable and achievable, so we could report on how much we’ve actually put into the local economy. The Kendal Gift Card gives us all these hard-fact figures.”

How did the Gift Card programme get started?

Sarah says, “I’d already gone through the process with another company who had a different outlook – they only wanted to do independents. It didn’t sit comfortably with me, so we looked into doing it ourselves, through a Visa broker system, but it was so out of our comfort zone.

“Then I landed on Miconex and I went up to Perth. In terms of ease of signing up with Miconex, we were the second to sign up but the first to do it with both independents and multiples. And we’ve had so much support from them. People might say, ‘Well, that’s what they’re paid for,’ but I think they’ve gone above and beyond that. We’ve continued to work with them, with them doing our social media stuff specifically for the Gift Card. They also came down and helped with the launch of it. Because they know what it’s about, it’s very easy for them to do it.”

Getting budget approval

Sarah recalls, “The budget process was arduous in terms of going backwards and forwards to the BID board, getting the approval, making sure the figures were right, understanding the figures and making sure that actually we were ok on this, because it is not our money [to invest], but after that, I actually found it a very quick and easy process.”

Bringing in the retailers

There are 105 retailers accepting the Kendal Gift Card, both independents and multiples (chains). What was it like getting them on board?

Sarah says, “When you’re a BID, or any town/place management, you’re always going to get the ‘anti’s and you’re always going to get people that will try it. And you have to accept that. But we as a Kendal BID decided that we were going to not charge businesses, and there’s no contract – so if you’re not in it, it seems ludicrous. 99% of our retailers are amazing, and say, ‘Why not?!’, and we sign them up.”

“Some businesses say, ‘But I’ve got my own gift card,’ and we say, ‘That’s OK! This is actually adding to it.’ We’ve got Boots, Mountain Warehouse, Booths, Beales and Pizza Express to sign up. These businesses have their own gift cards but they’ve realised we’re adding to their customer base rather than taking away.”

The Kendal Card is fairly new to the town but already the benefits are being noted by the BID management, the retailers and the customers.

The Outcome

Benefits for the BID

Sarah says, “The reporting element of it is great. We can easily say to one of our businesses, ‘You’ve had £2,500 spent in your store using the Kendal Card, and you might not have got that otherwise.’ You can now put that bottom-line figure on.

“People like to buy gift cards, but it can be a cop-out if you just get one from Amazon. This opens it up to Kendal businesses, and it’s put independents, who can’t do their own gift card, on the same level as the big businesses.

“We’ve also been able to help the biggies, who actually pay the most to their BID levies. I’m a great believer – and this is why I brought this project in – is that if you look after both your biggies and your littlies, their symbiotic relationship works well. If you have a town just full of independent shops, that’s ok, but then they go elsewhere for their Marks & Spencer and their Debenhams. Whereas this way, we’ve actually got the best of both worlds.

“I think it’s just a brilliant idea. It’s not a completely new idea, but this programme takes it further so it’s an all-inclusive one.”

Benefits for the retailers

What do Kendal’s retailers think of the Kendal Card so far?

Beales Department Store

Dan Morley, Manager of Beales Department Store in Kendal, is also Chairperson of the Kendal Business Improvement District, so he was enthusiastic about the programme from the start.

He says, “We’re a market town and it’s great when all retailers get involved with a programme. It helps to link the town and emphasises that we’re all part of the community. And our customers will have more choice as they can use the Kendal Card in multiple businesses. It’s a much more succinct customer offering.

“We like the fact that we know more money is now being spent in the town.”

Made In Cumbria

Debbie Sharpe is Retail Manager at Made In Cumbria, which is the Tourist Information Centre as well as a retailer of local gifts, crafts and speciality foods. Made In Cumbria signed up as a seller and accepter of the Kendal Card at the launch in September 2016.

Debbie says, “We like that it keeps money within the town centre. It’s one way of everybody shopping locally, and putting money back. Through the Gift Card programme we’ll get the repeat customers that we need, and we’ll get the loyalty.

“Our customers also like the idea they’re keeping money in the town centre. There are a lot of shops in the town that support it.”

Any advice from Kendal?

Dan Morley says, “Don’t worry that it will detract from your own offers. We have our own card at Beales and the Kendal Card complements it.”

Debbie Sharpe adds, “To other businesses, I’d say, ‘Definitely do it.’ You get your repeat customers, your loyalty, you keep the money in the town centre, you’re all working as one, you all support each other.”

Sarah Williams advises, “Check your figures and whether they’re right for you. We had the budget to be able to fund it for three years. In other words, we weren’t asking businesses to pay anything, we were just asking them to have their own Visa machine.

“The other thing is that you will get a certain amount of breakage – that’s the money left if the customers don’t spend all of their cards’ value in the time allowed. I would say, don’t rely solely on the breakage as a way to invest.

“To retailers, I would simply say, ‘If you’ve got a Visa machine already, why wouldn’t you be in it?’ ”

Future developments

What’s happening next for the Kendal Card? Sarah says, “I want to get new retailers in the town on board, and also push the wedding-gift side of things.”

Find out more

Miconex are working with BIDs, towns and cities across the UK to establish new local gift card programmes.  To find out more please contact Colin Munro at Miconex – colin@mi-cnx.com  – 01738 444 376
 

  • 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’re adding to their customer base rather than taking away"

    Some businesses say, ‘But I’ve got my own gift card,’ and we say, ‘That’s OK! This is actually adding to it.’ We’ve got Boots, Mountain Warehouse, Booths, Beales and Pizza Express to sign up. These businesses have their own gift cards but they’ve realised we’re adding to their customer base rather than taking away

    Sarah Williams, BID Manager, Kendal
  • "It helps to link the town and emphasises that we’re all part of the community"

    It helps to link the town and emphasises that we’re all part of the community. And our customers will have more choice as they can use the Kendal Card in multiple businesses. It’s a much more succinct customer offering. We like the fact that we know more money is now being spent in the town.

    Dan Morley, Manager of Beals Department Store, Kendal