It’s a great present for friends and family - this is the obvious one!
Perth is Scotland’s newest city, rich in history and culture. Located beside the River Tay, it’s just 90 miles from 90% of Scotland’s population. It offers easy access to the countryside and the many outdoor pursuits and landmarks in Perth & Kinross. The city has a wide selection of independent businesses as well as multiples/chains.
Perth was the first place in the UK to implement a Gift Card scheme with Miconex. Its success has allowed Miconex to roll out the scheme to other towns and cities across the UK.
Leigh Brown, City Centre Manager for Perth, says, “I’d been researching gift vouchers for towns and working with Miconex on various loyalty programmes and communication projects. A gift card programme, for me, was something that could lock in local spend, generate revenue through the breakage programme, be a clear marketing tool, and help the independent businesses, which is one of our key remits.”
David Littlejohn, Head of Planning & Development at Perth & Kinross Council, adds: “Perthshire people are proud of their region and keen to help keep the money in the local economy, but that’s sometimes hard when buying gift cards for loved ones, e.g. at Christmas. However, the Perth Gift Card eliminates that problem and the quality of the 70+ businesses involved makes it an extremely compelling choice.”
Leigh recalls: “It was really simple, as we were the first! We did a lot of the ironing out of the programme. In terms of setting up, and getting everybody involved, Colin Munro and Richard Gray [of Miconex] took all the hard work out of that for me, which was great. They knew exactly what had to be done, they worked all the contracts and made all the negotiations with Presend, so we just had to sign the final contract. It was much easier than having to deal with lots of different companies.”
“I just needed to get approval for budget spend at a senior-management level within the council,” says Leigh. “That was simple too, because we were showing them a programme that was coming back in terms of potential income generation.”
“We found it a lot easier than both Colin and I had anticipated,” says Leigh. “We had a target of 25 business to launch with, and we had 35 before we’d even started! Our main barrier was getting the businesses to sign up, as they were having to pay the 5% commission. So we had to do various models to try and work it out. Once the businesses saw the overall benefit and value of it – and we also found it quite easy to get businesses to sell the cards, too – we didn’t really have any challenges.
“Our main challenge now is that people want more businesses to sell the cards, so we need to look at how we can do that.”
The Perth Card has been in place since December 2015. How has it benefited the city and its retailers in that time?
Leigh says there have been many benefits: “We’ve had an additional £40,000 in spend in the city. Forty businesses out of 70 have had redemption of some sort. Perth & Kinross Council has also signed up to pay their Long Service awards in the Perth Card. That’s been great.
“It’s also given us a clear promotional message of ‘Come and shop and stay’, and people can win a Perth Card in competitions. We can promote it on tourism industry trips, where we give our visitors a card to spend and enjoy. We’re engaging with bloggers, too – we give them a card so they can go and experience Perth.
“And it’s given us that chance to promote the ‘gift of the city’ rather than individual businesses.
“In terms of reporting, it’s given us some great data on where people are spending them, how much they’re spending. And the average spend has been a lot more than we anticipated. We thought it would be about a £20 average card purchase and it’s been an average of £30.”
Three owners/managers of very diverse businesses in Perth also told us what they liked about the Perth Card.
Toby Mackenzie-Green, manager of Craigdon Mountain Sports, says: “I was keen to get involved with the Perth Card programme because it’s a great way of encouraging people to keep their pounds in Perth. It also helps to strengthen the local business community in Perth.”
The store team found the set-up process straightforward. Richard Gray from Miconex visited the store, explained the process, and it’s been easy ever since. Toby adds, “It’s processed through our till the same way as a standard Visa so no real change for us.”
Toby has now seen a fair amount of Perth Gift Cards come through the door. The team has also found that customers invariably use the card as part payment so it’s encouraging them to spend more.
Toby loves that the Perth Card is all about supporting local business: “It helps to bring small businesses on to customers’ radar and encourages people into the town which is half the battle! Craigdon Mountain Sports Perth is very happy to be part of the Perth Card family.”
Fellow local business owner Alastair Muirhead, of McCash’s Country Store, was also keen to capture some of the gift card market in Perth. How did he find it getting started? “It was easy. The machines were swiped and ready to go the next day.”
Alastair likes the fact that he can gain new customers who see his business on the Perth Card marketing leaflets. He also loves the fact that “it keeps Perth money in the city, and that people outwith Perth can buy online so that money also gets spent in Perth.”
Franky Anderson, manager of The Bothy restaurant and the Perth Playhouse cinema, says that valuable marketing opportunities come with being part of a gift card scheme. The two businesses, part of the Scotland-wide G1 Group, joined at “just the right time”, when Franky’s team was looking at increasing their marketing activities. Franky says, “It gives us a way to bring people to the city centre. Marketing is getting more expensive, and being part of the Perth Card allowed us to become part of a wider marketing network, and keep some of our marketing budget for other things. And if we’re all together on Perth Card marketing materials, it helps us all, because customers find out about all the businesses that accept the cards. Being involved with Perth’s ‘City of Culture 2021’ bid, too, it was just such a great idea.”
Asked about the sign-up process, Franky says, “It was almost non-existent, it was so good! It used our existing terminals, so one swipe of the start-up cards was all it took. We’ve never had any hiccups with it; it’s been fantastic.”
Margaret, a resident from Perth said, “I received a Perth Card for my birthday and I had a great day in Perth going round some of the businesses that accept the card, many of which I never knew existed. After much deliberation we had a delicious bite to eat at a local restaurant and got tickets for Russell Watson at the Concert Hall for my husband and me.”
Fellow Perth resident Linda Thorogood, who often buys the Perth Card for friends, says, “I like buying it because it can be difficult to choose for someone with different tastes. The Perth Card gives access to lots of things including cinema and hopefully the receiver gets something they might not have bought for themselves without it. It’s a gateway to a bit of spoiling.”
When Leigh Brown is asked whether she has any advice for other BID/town managers considering a Gift Card programme, her answer is simple: “Yes. Just do it!”
Franky Anderson agrees: “Absolutely – do it! It’s so easy to register to accept the card and then local people can spend their gift cards within the business. If we can give them great cuisine and service, they’ll come back time and time again because they can use the Perth Card. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Colin Munro, Managing Director of Perth Card partners Miconex, says that in the near future they’ll be looking into:
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org – 01738 444 376
It’s a great present for friends and family - this is the obvious one!
It supports the local economy
It can be used as an incentive or reward by local businesses and organisations
It makes a great wedding present
or leaving gift
15% of redemptions are at new businesses
People that redeem gift cards on average spend 40% more than the value received
The card can be used in multiple business
It’s easy for businesses to get involved as the existing Mastercard network is used
It provides a new revenue stream for the town/city via breakage
It makes a great wedding present or leaving gift
It can be used as a visitor pass by offering discounted entry for attractions
I like buying it because it can be difficult to choose for someone with different tastes. The Perth Card gives access to lots of things including cinema and hopefully the receiver gets something they might not have bought for themselves without it. It’s a gateway to a bit of spoiling.
We’ve had an additional £40,000 in spend in the city. Forty businesses out of 70 have had redemption of some sort. Perth & Kinross Council has also signed up to pay their Long Service awards in the Perth Card. That’s been great.