13 Scottish high streets set for boost with new website that encourages local spend

More than a dozen Scottish towns, cities and regions have been targeted by a new website that encourages people to spend locally.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, at a Perth business.

Perth-based fintech business Miconex is aiming to revive high streets with its site 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.

The loyalty and gift card provider has developed a Town and City Gift Cards website that features more than 50 of its gift card programmes in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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The site will enable customers to buy gift cards for towns and cities in the four countries of the UK in one place. Gift cards have to be spent in person with participating local businesses, supporting high street recovery.

A Perth business owner who accepts the Town and City Gift Card. Picture: Ian Potter

New data released by the firm 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, recipients have been found to spend on average 40 per cent more than the value of the gift card received.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said: “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.

“In the last week of August, footfall rose to around 75 per cent 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 per cent increase in profits recently, yet 22 per cent 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.”

He added: “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.”

The new website has been created in association with digital design and build company Bravand.

Business improvement district Essential Edinburgh operates the Edinburgh Gift Card in association with Miconex.

Emily Johnston from Essential Edinburgh said: “Essential Edinburgh and Miconex have been operating the Edinburgh City Centre Gift Card for almost two years. 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.”

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