The ‘Mi Rewards’ programme, the first of its kind in the UK, is to be piloted in the Scottish city of Perth to in order to reward shoppers for spending money locally. After a successful trial, it is hoped the scheme could be replicated across the rest of the UK.
The new programme automatically rewards customers for spending money in city businesses using their existing debit and credit cards. The scheme enables customers to earn points for shopping, dining and going out in Perth. It is free and easy for consumers to use, and no physical loyalty card is needed; people simply register their existing debit and credit cards by logging into the Mi Rewards website.
As consumers spend at participating businesses, their spend is tracked securely and automatically. Once they have earned enough points, they can convert them into Perth Gift Cards and spend them with participating businesses. Customers will also receive perks simply for being in the programme, such as discounted tickets, VIP access to events and even random acts of kindness.
As well as rewards for customers and businesses, towns and cities will be able to use data to compete with online marketplaces. To become part of Mi Rewards, Perth businesses simply need to register; there is no need for any new processes, hardware or staff training.
Miconex, the Perth-based company behind other successful schemes such as the Perth, Cardiff, Glasgow and Sheffield Gift Cards has been working with Perth & Kinross Council and local businesses to develop Mi Rewards. The continuing success of the Perth Gift Card scheme has shown that citywide programmes do work. Customers are more connected to their town or city, businesses get extra spend and city centre managers learn more about their consumers.
Colin Munro, Managing Director of Miconex, said: “As we work in towns and cities across the country we see how online shopping and out of town retail is impacting on the success of some high streets. We want the rewards programme to help bring back some prosperity and provide the tools needed for them to compete.”
“I love the elegance of the Mi Rewards programme; the customer registers once and then when they shop, go for a meal, or see a film, they’re rewarded. Miconex has been working with UK towns and cities for eight years on a wide range of projects and I feel that this new technology really could bring some positive change to town centres up and down the country.”
Leigh Brown, City Centre Manager for Perth and Chair of the Association of Town and City Management, added: “UK towns and cities are evolving due to changes in consumer behaviour. As Place Managers we need to understand how and why people are using their towns and cities. Through Mi Rewards, Place Managers will be able to gather data that will help support local businesses. We will be able to communicate with consumers in a more sophisticated way, too. This will allow us to learn, plan, and make improvements that develop the local economy.”
Dawn Cotton Fuge, owner of local business Precious Sparkle, says, “What I love about this programme is its simplicity and the fact that it encourages people to shop locally. Because the rewards aren’t linked to one particular business, the programme does not pitch one business against another but rewards customers for shopping with us all.”