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Home /  CASE STUDIES /  Case Study - InExeter Gift Card
  • Name of city – Exeter

  • Size of population – 128,900 

  • Number of businesses accepting – Over 70

  • Independents and/or multiples – Independents

  • When launched – 5th November 2018

  • How it’s managed – By InExeter

  • Gift Card website – https://inexetergiftcard.co.uk


About Exeter

Exeter is a vibrant historical city with a busy high street and a thriving independent scene. Pre-dating the arrival of the Romans in AD50, Exeter has a long and fascinating history, and is home to popular visitor attractions including its unique Underground Passages, a magnificent cathedral, award winning RAMM museum, and an imposing Roman wall and Quay.

Exeter has a diverse mix of eateries and a great mix of independent shops and boutiques, cafés and bars. The city is also renowned in the south west for its independent arts and music scene.

Its location in the heart of Devon, surrounded by miles of countryside and close to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, means there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure.


What We Did

Why did Exeter want a Gift Card programme?

Ann Hunter, InExeter Manager, explains: “The project was born out of a new independent group we launched mid-2018 which has budget allocation from the main levy fund. The aim was to support our indies with a tangible scheme which would illustrate return, connect all our indies under one umbrella project and celebrate the diversity of indies across the city.”


How did the Gift Card programme get started?

“I saw that Miconex Gift Card programmes had launched successfully in a number of other cities,” Ann says, “and at that time we were allocating a specific budget to our independent sector businesses. This seemed a really tangible way of supporting indies with a project that could be rolled out fairly easily and quickly in the city centre, so I contacted Miconex to get started.

“We have branded names across the city centre, but we wanted this just to be an independent project. Just over 70 businesses have signed up so far, which is around 90% of our indie shops.”

Did Ann find it was easy to get up and running with the InExeter Gift Card? “Super-easy,” she recalls. “Miconex has a really involved and super-helpful team, who are very flexible in responding to emails and questions. Apparently, there is no such thing as a stupid gift card question!”

Bringing in the businesses

“We launched early November in the Christmas trading period. Engagement-wise, the businesses were really keen to be involved and happy to register. Now, post-Christmas, we’re working really hard with businesses to help promote the scheme going forward. We have a programme of promotion around the Gift Card and our independent businesses, where each week we will go into a business and highlight items that could be bought on the Gift Card. We have trademarked the hashtag #letthemchoose for this campaign. It’s about encouraging people to go and explore independent stores with the Gift Card.”


Marketing the InExeter Gift Card

“Before the Christmas period we sold the Gift Card online, at www.inexetergiftcard.co.uk, and in the next few months we’ll be working with retailers across the city centre to sell it in store. That’s when we will launch the #letthemchoose weekly messages about the Gift Card and push the fact that you can now buy it in store. Instagram and Facebook are our two main social media networks for that.

“We’ve also produced a Gift Card sleeve and envelope for it to fit in, and that was a nice way to connect with the businesses. We went into the businesses to take photographs for the sleeve, so they got a stock of great images and we could use the images across our social media and marketing pieces for the Gift Card.”

The Outcome

The InExeter Gift Card was implemented in November. What benefits will it bring to Exeter as a city, and to the individual businesses?


Benefits for the city

“The Gift Card is really about celebrating and supporting independent businesses,” Ann says. “They make the city centre and it’s our point of difference; we have such a wealth of different indies, covering everything – homeware and lifestyle boutiques, clothing, gift shops, bakers and crafters. There’s such a great mix.

“It’s a tangible way of people showing their support for independents and making sure that Exeter’s point of difference thrives. It makes us a different high street.”

These two blog posts demonstrate the wealth of independent stores in which the Gift Card can be used:


Benefits for the businesses

Two owners of businesses in Exeter also told us what they liked about the InExeter Gift Card.

No Guts No Glory

Hayley Maker, co-owner of lifestyle shop and speciality coffee bar No Guts No Glory, says, "It's a great way to introduce people to the fantastic range of indie businesses in the area. It’s great for the recipient as they can choose anything from a pizza or brunch to jewellery or books! It supports and encourages exploration of indie businesses and creates a community connection."

The Flat

Chloe Whipple, owner of vegetarian/vegan restaurant The Flat, agrees. “The InExeter Gift Card is a super-simple and tangible way for us to keep supporting independent local businesses in the city. Our team loved receiving the Gift Cards at Christmas; it was a unique way for us to say thank you to them whilst also supporting other indie businesses in the city. A clear win-win.”  


Any advice from Exeter?

When Ann Hunter is asked whether she has any advice for other BID/town managers considering a Gift Card programme, she answers: “I would recommend it. I would say the beauty of ours is that it was an independent group of businesses making a choice to be part of the scheme. The group meets on a quarterly basis, they have a budget, and I put lots of projects and services to them that we could roll out with the fund, of which the Gift Card was one. This means there is business buy-in from the very outset. I would also suggest that having a different marketing angle works – e.g. independents, or ‘evening economy’ or a leisure theme rather than a blanket city 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 Mastercard 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

  • ""Super-easy,” she recalls. “Miconex has a really involved and super-helpful team"

    Did Ann find it was easy to get up and running with the InExeter Gift Card? "Super-easy,” she recalls. “Miconex has a really involved and super-helpful team, who are very flexible in responding to emails and questions. Apparently, there is no such thing as a stupid gift card question!

    Ann Hunter, BID Manager, Exeter