Gifts give a lift to retail

Town cards support independents

Colin Munro, Micronex MD
Micronex MD Colin Munro reckons local gift cards offer much needed support.

THE firm behind the town and city gift card initiative has revealed independent retail and hospitality businesses were the most popular on the platform.

Miconex has revealed that for the top 10 local gift card programmes in the UK, 72% of redemptions were for retailers, with 19% for food and drink businesses.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said local gift cards “have the power to support retail and hospitality recovery and many other sectors too.”

“Independent businesses made up 83% of our registered merchants in 2021, across the top 10 programmes.

“Two years on from the start of the pandemic and small, independent businesses need our support more than ever.”

By region, Aberdeen, East Ayrshire, Perth, East Lothian and Kirkwall were all among the top 10 Town & City Gift Card programmes in 2021. Collectively, these Scottish towns, cities and regions recorded over £1.2m in sales through local gift cards, a 32% increase on 2020.

In East Lothian, 66% of gift card redemptions were on retail premises in 2021, compared to 23% for hospitality and 5% for leisure and attractions.

Neil Duffield, director of East Lothian garden centre business Strawberry Corner, said: “As a business, we don’t have an e-commerce site, so we’re reliant on customers walking in and it’s beneficial for the customer because they get advice.

“Alongside our regulars, we have lots of new customers coming in who might be brand new to gardening, so that advice is essential. Being a part of the East Lothian Gift Card helps us to bring in new customers who might not have used us before.

“The East Lothian Gift Card has worked for us as a business with lots of extra sales through the till, and that’s what it’s all about. 90% of our sales are card payments, and as a business you need to find as many ways of accepting payment as possible.”

• Founded in 2010, Miconex works with towns and cities across the world. In 2015, the firm developed the UK’s first city-wide gift card programme in Perth, through its Towns and City Gift Cards initiative.

In 2018, Miconex launched Mi Rewards, a loyalty programme that automatically rewards consumers for spending money at registered businesses in a specific local economy.