57 programmes, international expansion, 1 industry award, over £2 million spent locally, and a Great Town and City Christmas Quiz- it’s the Miconex review of the year!
Here we are at the end of 2020 and what has been an extraordinary year. National retailers lost, independent businesses struggling for survival and the accelerations of trends that were already impacting our high streets. But for us, what we’ll remember of 2020 won’t be the lockdowns, restrictions, the loss and the struggles, but the strength, resilience and adaptability we’ve seen from businesses and the places that support them.
In 2020 we took our total number of local gift card programmes to 57, with 19 schemes introduced in the latter part of 2020 alone, including the launch of two new programmes for Ireland, in Ballinrobe and Drogheda, assisted by the creation of an Irish subsidiary for Miconex.
Whilst introducing new programmes around the UK and Ireland, we had the chance to speak with inspiring business owners in places including Falkirk, Leicester, Tavistock and Scarborough to hear first-hand the difference their town’s Town and City Gift Card programme will make to them.
For the first time in 2020, the amount spent locally through our Town and City Gift Card programmes surpassed £2 million. Gift cards are still being purchased right up to Christmas and beyond, so look out for figures from us in the New Year.
Of course, award ceremonies were all virtual in 2020, but we were still thrilled to pick up the award for the best use of prepaid at the Incentive Awards in September.
In October we revealed our brand new Town and City Gift Cards website, with the functionality for customers to buy gift cards for towns and cities around the UK in one place and Miconex to provide a fully managed service for places that includes the technical aspects of payment and redemption, and fulfilment of online orders.
Christmas parties were off the table for 2020, but Miconex worked with places on corporate orders, offering an alternative way to say thank you to staff whilst supporting the local economy, with great success in places like Chester, Aberdeen, Drogheda, Barnsley and East Ayrshire
We knew Christmas would be different for our places in 2020 but with the shop local message so vital to our towns and cities, it was an opportunity to do something special, and so we launched our Great Town and City Christmas Quiz in November to encourage people to shop locally and show their support for their local area.
Scotland took in the quiz but Camberley were the victors and were crowned the brainiest town in the UK in December, with Elgin taking second place and Edinburgh third. Over 400 towns and cities took part in the quiz from the UK, spreading that shop local message far and wide.
Our Mi Rewards loyalty programme, which started its life in Perth in 2018, also expanded across the UK in 2020 with launches in Guildford, Fleet, Stoke-on-Trent, Barnsley and Enniskillen.
Another exciting development in 2020 was the expansion from our UK base to deliver gift card programmes in Canada and North America through Miconex Inc., in association with international payments technology solutions provider EML Payments. Programmes include Downtown Lynchburg, Downtown Mesa, Downtown Billings, Cordova and Downtown Peterborough. September saw the launch of Miconex’s first Canadian project, the Canada’s Food Island Gift Card for Prince Edward Island. This became a $1.6 million project within 6 weeks.
The huge wave of positivity towards our local communities is a 2020 trend that we want to keep hold of, and one that we can harness for the benefit of strengthening our high streets. There is a dawning realisation that we all play a part in how successful our local town or city is, and that our actions have a real impact on our local communities. The shop local sentiment exists, it is down to us to harness that sentiment and make it work for the evolution of the high street. We look forward to continuing to work alongside our places, and to many more exciting innovations from Miconex and Town and City Gift Cards in 2021 and beyond.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas from all at Miconex and Town and City Gift Cards.