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Scotland Loves Local Gift Card has brought new people to my business

For more than 50 years David Cox Butchers has been a staple part of the community in Bridgeton, Glasgow, supported by a loyal core of customers. They have now, however, been joined by a new band – thanks to the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.

In summer 2022, Glasgow City Council distributed cards loaded with £105 each to 85,000 lower income households as part of an initiative not only designed to help people struggling due to the rising cost of living, but to support businesses with their continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Glasgow gift card – like all of those in the Scotland Loves Local family of cards available for every local authority region in the country – can only be spent with local businesses registered to accept them. There are 950 of those (and counting) in Glasgow.

The council’s actions – financed by a Scottish Government grant and supported by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the organisation behind Scotland Loves Local – is a move which has so far directly driven more than £7m into the city’s economy.

Far from being a one-off boost, businesses such as David Cox Butchers are seeing longer-term benefits.

Not only has the gift card encouraged people to visit and spend once – but time and again. It is an experience which strikes at the heart of what the card and the wider Scotland Loves Local movement is trying to achieve; building better communities from their grassroots by getting behind local businesses.

The disbursement schemes which have been carried out by Glasgow and other local authorities are on top of the general purchase of gift cards by people and businesses as presents and corporate / volunteer rewards and much more.

George Gilmour is the third generation of his family to run the butcher’s, founded by his papa, David Cox, in 1970.

Speaking about the immediate impact of the council’s disbursement of the Scotland Loves Local Glasgow Gift Card on his business, he said: “We saw a massive boost in footfall – a lot of new customers, a lot of new faces. The day that the gift cards started arriving at peoples’ houses, we were inundated.

“Some of them were people we hadn’t seen for a long time – or people we had never seen before. But over the past year, they’ve returned time and again, which has been great.

“I think the gift card has helped people discover more local businesses and realising the great quality, value and service you get from them. The feedback we’ve had has been great.”

As well as the award-winning business’ traditional home on Main Street, Bridgeton, David Cox has expanded in recent years, adding a shop in Kingsheath Avenue, Kingspark, which is also proving popular.

George hopes that the returning custom generated by the gift card – and people’s continued use of them as a means by which they can support local businesses – will provide long-term benefits.

“Returning customers are an integral part of our future,” he added. “As much as we have been here for all these years and are a staple part of the community, your future really does depend on new people coming through the doors.

“For us, the gift card has been a great springboard to help achieve that. It hopefully goes to prove how important it is for people to support local businesses in their area.”

David Cox Butchers employs nine people across its two shops.

It signed up for the gift card ahead of the council disbursement – a process which George says was easy.

Encouraging others to do the same, he said: “Every business should get involved because it’s a way to help their community. It’s a no-brainer.”

Supporting communities: Keeping money local for longer

The experience of David Cox Butchers in attracting – and retaining – new customers is one that Miconex, the Perth-based fintech which administers the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, has seen time and again as part of its work throughout the UK, Ireland and North America.

And it’s one in which other local businesses can play their part in securing continued success – by embracing the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card as a means by which to recognise and reward the achievements of their staff.

By using them as colleague incentives, they are also rewarding other businesses in their community – because the cards can only be spent in the region on which they are branded. That means money is kept local for longer, with all of the benefits that brings.

Acknowledgement of their power as a force for good is growing.

General sales for the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card nationally recently topped £500,000 for the first time – a 120% increase on this point last year. Corporate orders from businesses are an important element of that, representing half of sales.

Miconex managing director Colin Munro said: “The ways in which the gift cards benefit communities are tremendous. They encourage people to spend more time locally, discovering more about the people and businesses on their doorstep. So often we hear about people who use their gift card to visit a business they’ve never before been to – and they turn into loyal, regular customers.

“It’s another way of choosing local and loving local.

“Organisations of all kinds are recognising this more and more. They are increasingly making the move to local gift cards to reward staff, customers and service users because they offer choice for the recipient, blended with support for other local firms. It’s real corporate social responsibility – being there for the community that’s there for you.”

Scots want employers to support other businesses

Recent polling commissioned by Scotland Loves Local highlighted a growing appetite among people for their employers to do more to help other businesses in their communities.

Questions posed by the Diffley Partnership to almost 1,400 adults across Scotland found that:

  • Almost seven-in-10 (68%) agreed that when using gift cards to reward and incentivise staff, employers should use local gift card schemes to support local town centres and small businesses rather than national alternatives.
  • Two-thirds (66%) agreed that offering a local gift card scheme is an effective way for employers to incentivise and reward their staff.
  • Three-quarters (78%) agreed that employers should do more to support local businesses in their area.

Scotland Loves Local

The gift card is an extension of the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign, spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) with support from the Scottish Government. It is designed to be an active way in which people can play a part in building stronger communities by choosing local and supporting businesses in their home area – protecting jobs and ensuring communities remain vibrant, attractive places.

By choosing local, people can play an active part in laying the foundations for that better future while also helping their friends, family and neighbours through the immediate challenges caused by the rising cost of living, ongoing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency.

Find out more about how you can get involved by clicking here or emailing info@lovelocal.scot.