Why did Wolverhampton want a Gift Card programme?
BID manager Cherry Shine says, “We have a varied delivery plan through our business plan and through the BID. We’re in Year 4 and it was very obvious to us that we wanted to do something that supported our businesses, put money into their tills and promoted them individually and collectively; something they could easily see the benefits of. We came across the Miconex Gift Card, and that answered all those questions for us.”
How did the Gift Card programme get started?
Cherry says that “Colin and Marc [from Miconex] explained the process. It was very simple, it was easy to understand; they guided us through it and came to our Board and presented. Our directors were keen to take the project on as a result of their initial presentation. Miconex answered all the questions and gave us that confidence that it would be a success in Wolverhampton.”
Bringing in the businesses
Cherry is happy to report that the businesses have been extremely positive: “They saw the benefit of it from the start. This has been one project that has been so overwhelmingly supported by all businesses. It’s been really good for us as a BID, because the businesses can’t see why they wouldn’t want to be involved in this. And that’s definitely something that came across from the multiples as well as the independents – why would they not accept the card?
“We are meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, too, who are keen to sell it; they just want to work out which elements of their business they can use it on, e.g. ticket sales as well as in their merchandise store. It’s the same with Marston’s, which is a significant employer in our city centre but also an iconic brand that has its head office in our BID area. The team there was keen to get involved and sells it at the brewery shop, and also on the tours there as well. So if you want to have a tour round a brewery, you can enjoy doing that with a Gift Card!
“We have 118 businesses signed up to accept it already; that just shows their support for this. They have really engaged with it. When we’ve done free training or promotions in the past, we’ve always had a good response – but never on this scale.”
Marketing the Wolverhampton Gift Card
Along with a mix of social media posts and the Wolverhampton Gift Card website, Cherry’s team used “random acts of kindness” where they’d pay for someone’s shopping or café bill as a surprise. She says, “Of course, people love that – they’re not going to be disappointed when we pay for their shopping at the till! Also as part of the launch promotion, we awarded a competition winner a loaded card with £500. She hadn’t realised that she could spend it in so many places, and she was so excited that she could go and get her hair done, take her mum out for a meal, go to the theatre and spend it on a nice handbag. She just thought it was really versatile.”
The Enjoy Wolverhampton Gift Card was implemented in September. What benefits will it bring to Wolverhampton as a city, and to the businesses?
Benefits for the city
Cherry says that the Gift Card “really helps us showcase our mix of brands and independent stores, shops, businesses, restaurants and cafés. It gives us a product we can market and promote around. It shows that we are absolutely dedicated to supporting our businesses and we can use that message to encourage people who want to shop locally, to ‘spend local and support local’.
“We’re only a year away from our BID ballot and I think it’s one of those projects that businesses will really not want to lose.”
Benefits for the businesses
Three owners/managers of diverse businesses in Wolverhampton told us what they like about the Enjoy Wolverhampton Gift Card.
Durand Bailey, Retail Manager at Diffusion, an independent fashion retailer which has six stores, told us that he is happy to be a part of the Enjoy Wolverhampton Gift Card. “We hope it will bring more people into town and into our store,” he says. “It was easy registering with the Gift Card and I think it’s the ideal promotion for us and the town.
Amanda Markham has recently opened Brunch, a café in Wolverhampton, and is delighted with the marketing opportunities that the Gift Card presents. “I’m a new business and Enjoy Wolverhampton approached me to join the Gift Card Programme. I’m happy to promote Wolverhampton and the Gift Card; I’ve just started taking [Gift] card payments and if it means I get a few extra customers through the door, I’m happy to do it! It was very easy to get set up. Heidi from Enjoy Wolverhampton came in and we did a little transaction, and the card machine accepted it, and it was quite straightforward.”
Does Amanda think the Enjoy Wolverhampton Gift Card will be good for the city? “Yes, all the shops are joining together and it’s a bit of community promoting the city, which is great.” What advice would Amanda give to other businesses considering joining the programme? “I’d encourage them to do it. It’s free marketing and supports your local city.”
Vasos Varnava, manager at the Wolverhampton branch of leading independent jeweller T.H. Baker, was enthusiastic about the Enjoy Wolverhampton Gift Card from the start. He explains why: “T.H. Baker has come back to Wolverhampton after 40 years, and it’s got a lot of attention throughout the whole city. So the Gift Card just seemed right, and we want to be the main collection point for them here, to share the experience that we give in store with those that collect the Gift Card. We know that this is really important for Wolverhampton, and there are so many stores that you can use the card with, that it makes sense to host it here where it’s accessible for everybody.”
Was it easy to get on board with the Gift Card programme? “Absolutely,” Vasos replies. “The guys working at the BID have been incredibly helpful, and it’s all coming along very nicely. The customers, too, like the convenience of it, because you can use it all over Wolverhampton.”
When Cherry is asked whether she has any advice for other BID/town managers considering a Gift Card programme, she answers: “Yes – do have a look at it! If you are a BID manager or director, or place manager, I just think that the businesses are so quick to take it on, there isn’t a catch for them. They’re paying for the BID, it’s being delivered by the BID, and money will go to them as a result of being involved in it. It’s one of the only products available, of the ones I’ve seen at BID conferences and place management conferences, that actually does that.”
When asked what advice she’d give to businesses considering joining the Gift Card programme, Amanda from Brunch says: “I’d encourage them to do it. It’s free marketing and supports your local city.” Durand from Diffusion agrees: “I’d recommend anyone to join up, definitely.”
Vasos from T.H. Baker adds: “Do it, because we want to do everything we can to make it easy for shoppers in Wolverhampton. We want people to enjoy what we’ve got here, and there is a lot. The way to do it is to work together and say, ‘With this card you can shop anywhere here, you don’t need to go to Birmingham or anywhere else. We’ve got it all here.’ There are some huge businesses that are a part of this. It’s the best Gift Card to get – there’s nothing that covers so many stores as this one does.”
As well as the successful launch of the Love Cambridge Gift Card, Miconex is delighted to announce that new Gift Card programmes have recently been launched in Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Chichester. And four more cities, towns or districts will soon be starting Gift Card programmes in partnership with us:
Interested in a Miconex Gift Card for your town or city?
If you’d like to increase customer footfall and engage more strongly with the businesses in your town, city or BID area, it’s easy to join our growing number of Gift Card programmes. Contact us online, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01738 444376 and we’ll be happy to talk you through the possibilities.
Wolverhampton officially became a city in the Millennium, but has a long and rich history, having been founded in the 10th century. The city was famous as a market town and as a centre for coal mining, and is now home to thriving service and aerospace industries, as well as to a successful university and its renowned football club.