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Town and City Gift Cards Website to Boost Local Spend

13 Scottish towns, cities and regions are set for a boost with a new site that encourages local spend and supports high street recovery.

Perth based fintech Miconex is aiming to revive high streets with its new website to promote its programmes, including 13 in Scotland: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Crieff, Arran, Elgin, Shawlands, Milngavie, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Kirkwall, St. Andrews and Glasgow’s West End.

Loyalty and gift card provider Miconex has developed a new Town and City Gift Cards website that features over 50 of its gift card programmes in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The new site will enable customers to buy gift cards for towns and cities in the 4 countries of the UK in one place. Gift cards have to be spent in person with participating local businesses, supporting high street recovery.

The Town and City Gift Cards programme picked up the award for best use of prepaid at the Incentive Awards, a ceremony held virtually on the 24th September 2020. Over £1.5m has been spent through Town and City Gift Cards since 2015.

New data released by Miconex shows that the average value of gift cards purchased is £34.56, with men spending slightly more at £37.37 and women spending £33.32. When redeeming Town and City Gift Cards, Miconex report that recipients spend on average 40% more than the value of the gift card received.

“Gift card programmes are vital for cities to encourage customers back onto our high streets in a managed, careful way, especially as we approach the Christmas period,” said Managing Director of Miconex Colin Munro. “In the last week of August, footfall rose to around 75% of 2019 levels. With Eat Out to Help Out at an end, we need new reasons for people to visit their towns and cities.”

“Town and City Gift Card Programmes take spend that we’ve seen diverted to single retailer gift cards and bring it back to high streets. Amazon reported a 42% increase in profits recently, yet 22% of the 7.6 million jobs at risk in the UK are in retail. Business improvement districts and councils are putting all of their energy into supporting their businesses; it was the right time for us to invest in a new website to support that.”

“The platform is a slick marketplace for us to promote towns and cities, for retailers to showcase what they offer, and for customers to be inspired. Customers can browse the range of Town and City Gift Card programmes, see where cards can be spent, and buy cards for friends and family all around the UK. It makes a whole town or city into one giant department store, and as all money on the cards is held in a secure account until it is redeemed, it’s a sensible way to give the gift of choice.”

The website, created in association with digital design and build company Bravand, launched in September. A key benefit of the new site is the speed in which a new programme can be developed says Mr Munro:

“Understandably, towns and cities want to implement gift card programmes quickly. Because we have the infrastructure in place, we can do this in 6-8 weeks. It’s easy for any place to be a part of the platform.”

“For a town or city, we can provide a fully managed service that includes the technical aspects of payment and redemption, and fulfilment of online orders. This means they can focus all of their energy on activities to support businesses and communities.”

Since lockdown, Miconex have launched new Town and City Gift Card programmes in East Ayrshire, Southport, Camberley and Leicester with Falkirk, Yorkshire, Barnsley, Chester, Tavistock, Isle of Wight, Preston, Canterbury, Bury St. Edmunds, Knowsley, Ballinrobe, Drogheda and an additional scheme in Perthshire to follow.

Business Improvement District Essential Edinburgh operates the Edinburgh Gift Card in association with Miconex. Emily Johnston from Essential Edinburgh welcomed the newly launched Town and City Gift Cards website:

“Essential Edinburgh and Miconex have been operating the Edinburgh City Centre Gift Card for almost two years. During that time, we have been able to support our businesses by helping to lock-in tens of thousands of pounds of spend for over 100 participating city centre businesses. The new website offers an additional shop window for our businesses.”

“With the current precarious position for retail and hospitality across the UK it is more important than ever to support our city centres, not just local high streets.”

“We know that many of our residents are proud to call the wonderful city of Edinburgh ‘home’.  What other city centre has the views, impact and ambiance of Edinburgh – day or night? To ensure there is still a city centre to enjoy and be proud of, now is the time to safeguard what’s just a stone’s throw away from home for many. The Edinburgh Gift Card gives the gift of choice to friends and loved ones- fashion to fine dining, health food to hotels and haircuts, pubs to pedicures, dog cafes to diamonds and all helping to support city centre businesses and jobs.

Image: Colin Munro of Miconex with local business owner Dawn Fuge and the Perth Gift Card (Miconex – taken pre-pandemic).