Miconex has launched a new Spend It campaign across its 60 plus Town and City Gift Card programmes in the UK and Ireland, encouraging consumers to get out and spend local gift cards to support businesses reopening after the latest lockdown.
The campaign asks consumers to share where they have spent their local gift card, tagging, liking and following Town and City Gift Cards on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and using the hashtag #townandcitygiftcards to enter the prize draw. One winner will receive a £100 Town and City Gift Card for their chosen place for sharing their spend story.
Overall retail footfall in the UK in the week to 10th April 2021 was 44% that of the equivalent week in 2019 reports ONS. Footfall was highest in the West Midlands and the East of England, both at 46%, with footfall in Scotland at 44%, an increase of 5%. Retail footfall in Wales was 43% and weakest in Northern Ireland at 35%.
Over 47,000 Town and City Gift Cards were purchased in 2020. Each gift card can be spent with a variety of businesses in a particular town or city- from retail and leisure to hospitality and services- and are designed to make it easy for customers to shop local, keeping money locked into an area and supporting businesses.
The popularity of Town and City Gift Cards is attributed to the rise in popularity of multi-store gift cards and local shopping. The Gift Card and Voucher Association found that retail spend fell by 3.6% in 2020, the biggest drop in 50 years. Gift cards, however, remain popular. 76.3% have purchased a gift card in the last three years and uncertainty in UK retail has increased the popularity of multi-store gift cards, at 38.1% of gift cards in February 2021 vs. 32.4% in December 2020.
Self-gifting of gift cards is on the rise, with 31.8% purchasing a gift card for self-use over the past three years. 17.1% of gift card purchasers said supporting local businesses or the high street was a reason for them buying a gift card for themselves, increasing to 25.2% for 25-44 year olds.
19 new Town and City Gift Card programmes launched across the UK and Ireland between August and December 2020, as places sought to make local shopping easier, tapping into the desire to support local.
The new Spend It campaign from Miconex is part of its client success programme, helping places to maximise success for their programmes with multi-channel marketing campaigns. Over 400 towns and cities took part in Miconex’s Great Town and City Christmas Quiz in December 2020 to find the brainiest place in Britain and encourage people to spend locally. The competition attracted over 5000 entries with Camberley in Surrey taking the top spot followed by Scottish town Elgin.
Retailer The Lighting Company is part of the Town and City Gift Cards programme through the Minehead Gift Card. Glenn Ross is from The Lighting Company:
“This latest lockdown has been a challenge. We’ve taken the time to refresh our store, train staff and develop new lighting ranges. We have 4 retail websites, but having that presence on the high street is vital. Customers want the opportunity to see the products in person before they buy, guided by an experienced member of staff. It’s fantastic to have customers back in store again, the support from locals has been brilliant. We’re local employers with 20 staff members from the area. Money spent locally stays local, which benefits residents and businesses alike.”
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and commented: “Customers have taken the first step and purchased a local gift card, now is the time to spend it. A Town and City Gift Card is a piece of potential. The potential to support a small, independent business who has struggled through the last year. The potential to keep money locked into where you live and the potential to safeguard jobs, livelihoods and the vibrancy of where you live.
“Your local gift card can stay in your bag, wallet or in a drawer at home, or it can be turned into drinks with friends at your local, fish and chips on the seafront, a new outfit for the warmer weather to come or a long awaited haircut. Now is the time to get out and spend locally.”