The Town and City Gift Card programme from fintech Miconex is set for major expansion across Scotland as part of a government backed Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, the latest phase of the Scotland Loves Local campaign from Scotland’s Towns Partnerships.
The Scottish Government is putting its weight behind the award winning local gift card initiative as part of efforts to support small businesses at a local level, and empower local authorities in their post pandemic recovery efforts.
Each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas will benefit from the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, almost doubling Miconex’s local gift card coverage across Scotland. Miconex currently operates over 60 Town and City Gift Card programmes in the UK and Ireland, with £1.9 million of spend through the programmes in 2020.
Miconex worked with business improvement districts and local councils to introduce Town and City Gift Card schemes in 2020 across the UK and Ireland, with 19 new schemes launching between August and December in Leicester, Southport, East Ayrshire, Camberley, rural Scotland (REDS), Aberdeen, Bury St Edmunds, Tavistock, Canterbury, Isle of Wight, Chester, Knowsley, Preston, Scarborough, Drogheda, Sunderland, Ballinrobe, Barnsley and City of London, as places sought to harness the shop local sentiment and unite businesses behind a single, multi-venue gift card for the area.
Each of the local gift cards can be spent like a debit card across retail, hospitality, leisure and services in that particular place.
Existing gift card schemes will remain, with additional support for each area, as part of the Scottish Government’s £10m of support for Scotland Loves Local. One of the schemes that will benefit is the Perth Gift Card.
Councillor Murray Lyle, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council said: “With the Perth Gift Card, we have demonstrated just what can be achieved when customers, businesses and places work together. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved already with the Perth Gift Card, as pioneers of the local gift card concept, and welcome the support of the Scottish Government to power Perth’s economic fightback from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In areas where there is no existing Town and City Gift Card scheme in place, Miconex will work alongside Scotland’s Towns Partnership and the local authority to develop a new local gift card.
Data from the Town and City Gift Cards programme demonstrates the appeal of the local gift cards across the genders and generations, with gift card sales in the last two months of 2020 driven by Boomers (34.88%), Generation X (35-54), Millennials (19.89%) and Generation Z (12.89%). Women purchased 53.18% of local gift cards but represented 49.72% of revenue due to lower gift card purchasing value.
The Town and City Gift Cards scheme expanded into Ireland and North America in 2020. Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card will help Scottish towns and cities to convert the demand for local shopping into economy boosting revenue:
“Over the past 6 years we have built and refined our Town and City Gift Card concept into an unbeatable consumer product, turning a whole town or city with its mix of independents and nationals into one giant department store. The success of local Town and City Gift Cards in both big cities and small towns has shown that it is community unity that is the driving force for local gift card programmes.
“With the backing of the Scottish government and Scotland’s Towns Partnerships, we’re now able to bring our Town and City Gift Card concept to every local authority in Scotland, either building on the success of our pioneer towns and cities or developing a new scheme from scratch. The pandemic has put the community to the forefront once more. Supporting local businesses, or the local high street, was the purchase driver for almost a quarter of all gift card sales in May 2021, and that’s a trend that looks set to continue.
“But as well as consumer sales, our local authority partners have used their gift card programmes in new, innovative ways, from supporting families in need with care packages to employee rewards and incentives that make a difference in local communities. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is an exciting opportunity to change not only the retail, leisure, hospitality and services landscape in Scottish towns and cities, converting the shop local sentiment into footfall and customers, but to positively impact communities on a number of levels.”
Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur said: “We are delighted to be backing this innovative scheme as part of our pledge to support local businesses and communities within the first 100 days of government.
“The Gift Card is a quick and efficient way to encourage spend and drive sales growth in our local economies. Thanks to Scottish Government funding, this is the first of its kind on a national scale and I look forward to seeing businesses benefit from the opportunities it presents.
“In the coming months we will further bolster the Scotland Loves Local (SLL) campaign with the second tranche of our SLL Fund, helping communities revitalise their own towns or neighbourhoods, building wealth and delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.”
STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “The Town and City Gift card concept is a key plank of Scottish Government Policy to deliver on a more localised, sustainable and inclusive society. Never before have we seen a scheme of this scale in Scotland.
“The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card epitomises the value we place on local life, local communities and local businesses, and we are pleased to work with Miconex and the Scottish Government to deliver this ambitious project for the good of our towns and cities. Now is the time for businesses to register with Scotland Loves Local and join our mission for change: www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard