On Wednesday 20th January Miconex invited town and city centre managers from across Scotland and the north of England to visit their Perth office to explore how a Visa based program can be used within towns and cities both as a gift card and a visitor pass. 

Joining us on the day were Hakan Hult from CBS City and Jon Sederqvist Østmoe from Presend who provided an overview of how these programs have been delivered in Scandinavia, profiling the most successful projects and the key factors required for success.

Colin Munro (Managing Director, Miconex) kicked the day off with a presentation to explain the background to The Perth Card project and detailed how they had met the brief from Leigh Brown (City Centre Manager, Perth) to introduce a new gift card with the following objectives: 

  • Easy to use for consumers
  • Easy to use for businesses
  • Delivers economic benefit for Perth city centre businesses
  • Project managed by Miconex
  • Measurable and provides data
  • Potential to generate revenue

Colin explained how Miconex had extensively researched the various gift card solutions available both in the UK and across Europe before identifying Presend as the best possible partner for this project due to their elegant solution and experience in the sector having provided the infrastructure for over 75 similar projects across Europe. Colin covered each point in detail emphasising the proposition for consumers and the reasons for businesses to participate in The Perth Card program. The Perth Card is a really simple consumer proposition. Buy a Perth Card as a present for friends, family and colleagues rather than an Amazon Card, Google Play Card etc, this way the money stays in Perth. The gift card can then be used in full or in part at a range of businesses including cafes, restaurants, attractions, shops and venues. The Perth Card website was demonstrated where consumers can purchase a card, check their balance and find out where they can use the card. The options for generating revenue from the program were explained and details of the program success to date were shared. View Colin’s presentation on prezi here: https://prezi.com/d5d5ctf3altt/gift-card-workshop/ 

Jon Sederqvist Østmoe (CEO, Presend) followed Colin, providing greater detail about how easy it is to create a restricted use Gift Card network using the Presend program. Jon explained how the existing Visa infrastructure was used meaning that no new hardware, software or contracts with businesses are required. This makes it possible for all businesses in a town to be involved in the project. Jon provided insight into how consumers were using the current programs where they see an average of 40% overspend on gift card redemptions, with customers tending to be less price sensitive when using the cards leading to higher margin sales for retailers. Comparisons to lower tech solutions were provided with one of the key benefits being the speed that the businesses receive their money and the lack of any reconciliation being required (compared to paper voucher schemes). Jon finished his presentation by providing examples of how else the card programs were being used including; staff incentives, rewards to blood donors and as city passes with consumers receiving reduced price entry to attractions when using the cards. View Jon’s presentation on slideshare here: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/yWusY4LdCHL2nO

Hakan Hult (Business Development, CBS City) who are based in Sweden explained how they work with over 30 towns and cities across Sweden and Norway to help them set up and successfully run gift card programs using the Presend solution. Hakan provided statistics from towns/cities of various sizes (included in the presentation link below) showing how gift card sales grow year on year. An interesting benchmarking KPI is used to compare towns with different populations – average spend on gift card per inhabitant. This KPI enables towns to measure how their program compares to others and he encourages Town Centre Managers to discuss and share how to increase sales. Hakan went on to explain how it was important to develop as many sales channels as possible: 

  • A network of retailers
  • Via manned and unmanned kiosks
  • Online
  • Direct to businesses

The various options for kiosks were then detailed with examples of how and where they are being used in Scandinavia. View Hakan’s presentation on slideshare here: http://www.slideshare.net/secret/oLgqQbzLYA2iiE

During the coffee break attendees were able to view a demonstration of the kiosks in action and also use the Presend web portal to look at the statistics from the Perth program.

Leigh Brown (City Centre Manager, Perth & Kinross Council) followed the break by giving a City Centre manager’s perspective, explaining why she thought this was an important project for Perth and the key benefits:

  • Tangible benefits for businesses
  • Data capture
  • Revenue Generation
  • Promotional Tool

Now that the program is established in Perth she is keen to extend the number of businesses involved and of course – sell more cards. Leigh has already identified areas where the card can add extra value including:

  • As a visitor pass
  • Corporate gifting
  • Incentive for coach drivers
  • Collaborative offers

View Leigh’s presentation on prezi here: http://prezi.com/xx2jer-2zhqw/

Read the full blog from Miconex here.

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