BID Leicester launches its new gift card programme this September as part of its efforts to transform Leicester city centre. The east midlands city is the latest to launch its own Town and City Gift Cards programme in association with Scottish tech firm Miconex
James Dunham, Operations Executive for BID Leicester says that the gift card programme will be a boost for the city where businesses have been impacted by local lockdown measures.
“Our core remit at BID Leicester is to support businesses in the city. After the extended lockdown in our city, it’s more important than ever to support our local businesses. The Leicester Gift Card is the ideal programme to encourage people back into the city because it has to be spent physically in person instead of online.”
The Leicester Gift Card works like a local currency through the Mastercard network and recipients of the gift card can spend it with local businesses that are registered with the programme. Cards can be purchased with a value of £10-£500. Mr Dunham says the new gift card will support local businesses and stimulate economic activity:
“The main benefit of introducing the Leicester Gift Card is that we are locking in spend to the local economy, and the response from businesses has been universally good. There’s no downside for a business to register with the scheme. It’s just another way for them to receive money. The other benefit is that people tend to spend more than the value of the gift card. If you get a £40 gift card and use it on a meal out, chances are that you’ll spend another £20 on top, say with a nice bottle of wine.”
“We have around 100 businesses registered at launch and there’s a good range there too. As well as retail, we have leisure businesses, food and beverage and theatres; a wide choice for recipients to spend their gift card on. It also encourages recipients to explore their city a bit more and be experimental, visiting a new shop or trying a new restaurant.”
Mr Dunham says the Leicester Gift Card programme will help to encourage people back to the city centre in a controlled way, and follows on from BID Leicester’s Street Stories augmented reality art trail across vacant units in the city in August.
“Leicester has a great energy with a young diverse population. The lockdown has made us really appreciate our businesses and the vibrancy of our city, sitting outside a café or restaurant and enjoying a drink or some food. In buying the Leicester Gift Card, our residents can show their support for their city, keep money local and help businesses to get back to some normality.”
Leicester is the tenth largest city in the UK and the fourth of the UK’s top ten largest cities to partner with Miconex on a Town and City Gift Card programme. Colin Munro, Managing Director of Miconex who operate programmes for over 40 cities, towns and regions in the UK said that it takes 6-8 weeks to launch a programme:
“The Leicester Gift Card has been very well thought out and I’m sure will be very successful. BID Leicester are a professional organisation, efficient and good at what they do - supporting businesses in Leicester. Our role is to help to successfully launch and manage the gift card programme, from onboarding businesses and creating an e-commerce website to producing marketing materials and the fulfilment of online gift card purchases.”
“Due to covid, the process of getting Leicester set up with their gift card programme has been completed remotely. Business Improvement Districts like BID Leicester are looking for initiatives that are meaningful, measurable and beneficial, and that’s what we offer through our Town and City Gift Cards. This is money that used to go into town centres, that was diverted to gift cards like Amazon, and that we’re bringing back to our high streets.”
“Businesses like the scheme because it means more money coming in. The highest redemption period for our gift cards is January and February, traditionally the quietest period in retail.”
“The one positive from the pandemic is that more people are starting to shop locally again. This is a trend that we need to build on and develop. We have an opportunity to show customers a different way of shopping, keeping money in local economies and driving their recovery. In this way, we can secure the future of the high street.”