Free, easy, relevant
Anyone involved in place management knows that one of the hardest thing to do is to get lots of local businesses to participate in any single project.
That is often due to the fact that it ‘costs’ too much for a business to be involved.
This cost can include:
- Providing an incentive
- Time taken to participate
- Actual money
The second important question a business asks is - OK, what do I need to do? If a business is required to to change their existing business practices then this may be seen as an inconvenience and could prohibit participation. Businesses are quite rightly very focussed on their own objectives and have developed their own unique working practices for this purpose.
Added to this, national Brands (multiples) often find it difficult to be involved as they can struggle to operate differently at a local level.
The third element is relevance, will my business benefit from this project. It’s not possible for every town/city project to benefit every sector of businesses however in an ideal world our projects would benefit as many businesses as possible.
So taking all this into consideration what we are looking for is a project that is:
- Free for businesses
- Easy for them to participate in
- Relevant for as many businesses as possible
My thinking is that this is why local gift card programmes are becoming increasingly popular, in fact more that 50% of towns/cities in Sweden now have a local currency in the form of a Visa-based gift card and we are soon to launch our 5th, 6th and 7th in the UK.
Firstly, a local gift card is free for the businesses when the programme is supported by the town/city. There is no setup charge or ongoing costs.
Second, the gift card programme uses the existing Visa infrastructure so no new hardware or software is required. Businesses receive their money in the same way as they receive any other card payment.
Third, a local gift card works in the same way as a local currency. The town/city gift card might be given with the expectation that the recipient will treat themselves to a gift, a meal at a restaurant or a ticket for the local theatre/cinema however in reality at certain times of the month people use them to fill up their freezers from the butchers or even at the local dentist. This means that a wide range of businesses benefit from a local gift card programme.
So basically a local gift card programme ticks the ‘achievable’ box. Then you add in the actual benefits of running a programme:
Local gift cards are simple to establish, deliver measurable benefit for a wide range of business and can be self-funding.
Miconex are working with towns and cities across the UK to implement local Visa-based gift card programmes. For more information please contact Colin Munro, Miconex - [email protected]