A Perth-based technology firm who pioneered a gift card scheme to support local businesses is enjoying rapid growth across UK towns and cities.
Miconex set up its gift card programme – which allows customers to purchase gift cards which can only be spent in local shops and businesses – in Perth in 2015.
The system sets up a ‘closed loop’ which retains money in the local area with the firm hoping that their products can help “regain some of the ground” lost to online retailing giants such as Amazon.
More than 2,600 people and 60 business in Perth have signed up to the scheme.
The project was so successful that it is now live in 20 towns and cities across the UK, with a further eight due to go on-stream within weeks.
Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said: “We are in the sector of trying to encourage people back into town and city centres.
“The retailing landscape is changing, and town centres need to adapt to those changes and that includes the experience of shopping where customers are rewarded for spending money locally.”
The expansion comes as the firm rolls out a new rewards based programme based on customer spending.
Customers links their debit or credit card to the MI Rewards system and receive one point for every pound spent in local businesses.
Once a sufficient number of points have been accrued, the customer trades them in for a gift card, which again is valid at local outlets.
Gloucester, which is home to the UK retail innovation centre, and Enniskillen in Northern Ireland have already signed up to the points based system.
Mr Munro said: “Online retailers know pretty much everything about their customers, but that isn’t the case on the high street.
“Our systems allow physical businesses to behave like digital marketplaces and regain some of the lost ground.
“Our tech allow us to track trends which can then be used to deliver bespoke offers to customers and help influence where people spend money.”
Mr Munro stressed that collaboration among local firms is key to the success of the schemes, which encourage customers to spend in more than business.
The firm is also looking to utilise emerging technologies such as digital wallets and new payment innovations which will allow purely digital versions of the rewards schemes to be developed.