Businesses in Bishop’s Stortford are being encouraged to sign up to the new Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card, which will launch in the town in the middle of June.
The Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card is a multi-retailer gift card, working in a similar way to regular store gift cards but with the benefit of being able to spend the card with a variety of businesses in the town. Cards will be available to buy from £5- £500.
All types of business are eligible to be a part of the new local gift card scheme, including national and independent retailers, hospitality, leisure, health and beauty, and services. Ten businesses have signed up to date with a goal of 50 businesses by the launch date.
Bishop’s Stortford was listed as one of the best places to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, thanks in part to its historic and characterful town centre. The new gift card scheme is being led by Bishop’s Stortford Business Improvement District, whose aim is to improve the experience of the town centre for those who visit, live and work in Bishop’s Stortford.
Gina Thomas is Bishop’s Stortford’s BID Manager:
“The pandemic has been difficult for businesses but as a town we’ve weathered the storm well. We’ve had seven new hospitality and food businesses that have opened, including two bakeries, restaurants and cafés. Our existing businesses have adapted where they could and our residents have been really keen to support local traders, going out and buying a takeaway coffee or lunch when working at home for example.
“We introduced Click It Local to enable shops to do deliveries but our focus now is on encouraging customers back to the high street safely and that’s where the Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card comes in. Being a part of the Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card will help businesses to find new customers. Traders will be listed on the website showing where to spend the gift card, which is the first place customers look when they receive a gift card.
“With a Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card in their hand, people can do something different, discovering a new place to eat or shop, or treating themselves to a haircut at a salon they’ve walked past hundreds of times. When you receive a gift card, it’s almost like free money, and people are more inclined to treat themselves.
“We’ll be launching the gift card in time for Father’s Day, which is a great gifting opportunity. It’s free for businesses to be a part of the Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card, and it will bring more customers through the door. It’s a no-brainer really. Another way we’ll use the gift card is in community events and competitions, such as donating a £100 Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card for the Royal British Legion poppy trail. It will be useful for so many things.”
The new Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card is part of the award winning Town and City Gift Cards programme from fintech Miconex. There are over 60 Town and City Gift Card schemes around the UK and Ireland, including Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds and two other schemes in Hertfordshire- Watford and St Albans.
Gina added that the appeal of the gift card programme is that it will be beneficial for a variety of businesses:
“We’ve been monitoring the success of the Cambridge Gift Card and newer schemes in places like Bury St Edmunds. We wanted a scheme that would benefit every business; what appealed to us is that we can involve our nationals as well our independents, so the likes of Next and H&M alongside smaller independent shops, restaurants, bars, salons and more. It’s really easy for businesses to get involved and by working together we can make our town even stronger.”
One of the businesses that has signed up to receive the Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card as an additional payment method is photo specialists Click Click. Lindsey Trundle, owner of Click Click said: “Click Click are excited to be part of this great new enterprise in the town and are looking forward to seeing more people shopping locally in Bishops Stortford."
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said the popularity of multi-store gift cards like the Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card is increasing:
“There was a 3.6% fall in retail spend in 2020, the biggest year on year decline in over 50 years but gift cards are still popular. 76.3% have purchased a gift card in the last three years and multi-store gift card are especially popular at 39.4% of all gift cards purchased in March 2021.
“42.6% of people made a one-off purchase at a new brand in 2020 thanks to a gift card, with 21.7% becoming regular customers. Being a part of your local gift card is a sure route to new customers. Research also shows that customers spend more than the value of the gift card on redemption, with the majority spending at least £10 more and 96.2% of those spending up to an extra £50 more.”
Businesses can register to receive the new Bishop’s Stortford Gift Card as an additional payment method by emailing: [email protected]