Since Miconex’s first Gift Card hit the streets of Perth in December 2015, we’ve helped over towns and cities across the UK to develop their own Gift Card programmes. Now we’re delighted to announce that the latest two Gift Card programmes have launched: The Crieff Card and The Elgin Gift Card.
Crieff is a popular market town in Highland Perthshire, with a population of around 7,500 people. The Crieff Card launched on 29th May 2018 and there are 55 businesses signed up to accept the card so far.
Elgin is an attractive town and the commercial centre of Moray, with a population of approximately 23,100. Over 70 businesses have signed up to The Elgin Gift Card, with more due to come on board following their launch on 8th June 2018.
Why did your town want to get involved with the Gift Card programme?
Neil Combe, Crieff – We wanted something evident and tangible on the high street. It’s very difficult to measure the effect of, say, supporting an event and then measuring any increased footfall in businesses as a result. The Crieff Card is a tangible way of doing that. It gives the businesses a real sense that’s something’s being done.
Gill Neill, Elgin – As a BID we’re trying to encourage people to shop local and support local businesses. So this is an ideal way of giving people that opportunity.
What was the process of signing up to the Gift Card programme? How easy was it?
NC – On our side it involved communicating with the relevant people, having a couple of open meetings, and some letters and emails. Then the door-to-door work that Colin and Rich from Miconex did when they signed the businesses up, and swiped their card readers, made a big difference. It must be quick and easy because I’ve since done it! It’s very, very straightforward and that’s good because I think [the businesses] thought it would be complicated, and it’s not.
GN – It’s been very easy. Colin Munro and the rest of the Miconex team have been fantastic. In terms of all the support we’ve been given, it’s been unprecedented. Everything they’ve done for us – answering questions, being patient with us when we’ve wanted to check things out, getting the businesses signed up, helping us all the way – it’s been very positive. It makes a huge difference.
Are you getting positive engagement and sign-up from the businesses?
NC – Having spoken to [the business] people, they’re really keen to embrace the concept, and can see what we’re trying to do. People who have signed up are doing so because they can see the benefits of the scheme.
GN – Yes, we’ve gone live with more than 70 businesses, so we’re really thrilled. In terms of all the work I’ve done in Elgin for the BID, this is the one I’ve had most engagement and most interest in from businesses. When Colin and Marc from Miconex were going into businesses in town to sign them up, those businesses knew what it was all about and they wanted to get involved in it.
What will be the benefits for your town of having the Gift Card Programme?
NC – It creates a positive feeling that we are doing something to help the economy. There’s a sense of the business community all working together. We think it’s a good idea.
GN – It’s the fact that people get a really interesting gift to give to people, and they’re getting real choice in how to spend it. In our press and PR, our message is that you can buy an Elgin Gift Card for someone who’s leaving work, or if you want a special gift but you’re just not sure where to go, etc. With over 70 businesses the recipients are going to find something that will appeal to them. You’re supporting local businesses and the local economy by giving such a nice gift, so that’s got to be good.
Have you had feedback from the public yet?
NC – We had feedback on the online ordering system – you can buy it in a couple of shops in town or you can buy it online – and the process was found to be straightforward and very simple.
GN – We’ve been talking about it pre-launch on Facebook, and the feedback from people has been really good; they’re excited and they think it’s a great idea for supporting local businesses. With all of our participating businesses, someone could go and get their hair cut, they could put it towards a holiday, buy a steak for their dinner, go out for a meal… The choice is huge and diverse, and it’s giving people the chance to pick what they want to do. You’re not going to give them something and they never use it. And they’ve got a whole year to use it, they don’t have to rush out thinking, “I have to spend my money today.”
Do you have any advice for someone in your role/position who’s considering implementing a Gift Card programme?
NC – I’d recommend it as it’s a great opportunity to increase – and to measure – footfall in your town. Also we haven’t called it The Crieff Gift Card, but rather The Crieff Card, because we want to get over the idea that it doesn’t have to be a gift. So, for example, schoolkids can use it to buy their lunches, or anyone can use it as a spend-it-as-you-go card, for buying a steak pie for dinner, for a coffee, or for going to the hairdresser. It’s to increase the number of people buying.
GN – I would have no doubts about recommending it to anyone. The businesses have really been positive and keen to get involved, and the Miconex team has been there at every stage, guiding us through what action we had to take. It is an investment, so you have to be confident that you’ll have a return, but I spoke to other BID managers in other parts of the country to get their honest views, and all the way I’ve had very positive feedback. It’s definitely one to consider because you’re supporting “shop local” and doing something really positive for your members.
Contact Crieff and Elgin
If you’d like to chat to our BID Managers about their experience so far, you can contact Gill Neill through the Elgin Gift Card website, and you can contact Neil Combe at email@example.com.
Interested in a Gift Card programme for your town or city?
Our 20-plus programmes across the UK will all be selling gift cards on behalf of their businesses this year, delivering visible value. If you’d like to join them and find out how easy it is to tap into the £5.6-billion gift card market, just call 01738 444376 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or head over to the Miconex website, where you’ll find lots of information as well as stories from BIDs who’ve implemented successful Gift Card programmes. We’re happy to do a demo for you, too!