Success for Guildford’s Mi Rewards as the loyalty scheme approaches £1million national milestone
Guildford is playing its part in the reinvention of the high street through its Mi Rewards programme.
Guildford launched its Mi Rewards programme in October 2020, part of the town and city loyalty programme from Scottish fintech Miconex and loyalty platform Stampfeet. The scheme is now approaching £1million in sales nationally, with over 47,000 transactions.
Billed as a next generation town and city loyalty programme, Mi Rewards expanded across the UK in 2020 with launches in Guildford, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, Stoke-on-Trent, Fleet and Gloucester.
Originating in Perth in 2018, Mi Rewards is a payment card linked loyalty scheme with customers receiving rewards when they use linked debit or credit cards in participating local businesses in their town or city. Once cards are linked, the technology runs in the background and users don’t have to show a separate loyalty card.
A revamped website was introduced in May 2021 to provide support for new and existing Mi Rewards locations as businesses reopen following the latest lockdown. The new website features a greater focus on participating businesses, including a promotions page for the business to improve visibility and traction with potential customers.
Amanda Masters, CEO of Experience Guildford commented:
“Mi Rewards will help us to hit the ground running as we re-open but we’re going to build on that. Our retailers are very aware of the need to drive loyalty, and are keen to be a part of a scheme. After such a turbulent year, now isn’t the time for merchants to be doing discount driven promotions, so it’s good to be able to offer a loyalty scheme that drives loyalty without discounting.
“The points capabilities are exciting, enabling us to track online spend as well as instore spend. We have around 5 businesses set up for online transactions now, The Bear Garden, Fresco DeliKafessen, The Guildford Institute and Julia Lampard Hair Salon, meaning customers can earn points when they spend using their registered cards at these businesses online. Other organisations that would benefit include theatres and businesses where you typically buy tickets, products or services in advance or online rather than in person.
“We did a special Mi Rewards prize draw on the 1st May for Surrey Day, as part of Guildford’s involvement with the event, which included a hamper of local goodies to showcase the best of Guildford, as well as our May prize draw of £250 to redeem at Mi Rewards businesses.”
The Mi Rewards scheme moved to a points based rewards process in 2020 giving even low volume users the opportunity to win a prize, with chances to win increasing alongside usage. Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex, which also operates over 60 Town and City Gift Card programmes in the UK and Ireland, including in Enniskillen, Kirkcaldy, Barnsley and Gloucester:
“The vision with Mi Rewards was for a more efficient solution to the loyalty problem that businesses face. Traditional loyalty schemes have tried and failed. Mi Rewards is a next generation loyalty solution that approaches loyalty at a place level, bringing businesses together in a coalition, in a way that is beneficial to the business, the customer and the town or city.
“Places and businesses can use the data they receive to better understand their customers, measuring and identifying what works and what doesn’t, and rewarding local spend. Mi Rewards offers zero friction, positive user experience and huge potential for solving the conundrum of high street loyalty.”
Asaf Rozin is the CEO of London and Maryland based Stampfeet, and said one of the main benefits of Mi Rewards is the removal of issues with traditional loyalty programmes:
“With a traditional loyalty card programme, there is the constant struggle to get the data coming in. You can only get the data when customers present their loyalty card. With Mi Rewards, there is a one-off action on the customer’s behalf to link their payment cards. There is no need to train staff, and the business receives data as long as the payment card keeps being used; the customer can link as many cards as they like.
“Mi Rewards works on a token system. A customer links a card, say a Visa, and we receive a token. Every time there is a transaction, the Visa ID is matched to the token and the customer is rewarded. We don’t hold or store a customer’s card details. Both Apple Pay and Google Pay work in the same way.”
“It is anticipated that Mi Rewards functionality will develop over time to allow businesses to offer their own prizes, keeping their own nature as a small business but within a platform of users in their area who are their potential customers. This will enhance business profitability and efficiency. Coalition loyalty has huge potential, particularly around mutual and partner offers, for example with a free coffee after you’ve had your haircut. Through coalition loyalty, we can drive spend in local high streets.”
New Mi Rewards schemes will launch in Barnsley and Kirkcaldy in 2021. In Kirkcaldy, Mi Rewards will work alongside their Kirkcaldy Gift Card. Customers can link their Kirkcaldy Gift Card and get points when they spend it in participating retailers. Hazel Cross, is the Town Centre Development Officer at Fife Council:
“We launched Mi Rewards Kirkcaldy not only to encourage customers to the town centre but to reward their loyalty as they continue to love and support local businesses. It’s a great, no hassle, rewards programme. Every pound spent at participating businesses turns into a digital reward point and with every 10 Kirkcaldy points collected over the month, you’re entered into a monthly town centre prize draw.
“Kirkcaldy town centre has a great mix of independent businesses with everything from dinner to diamonds, carpets to coffee and spa days to sport, alongside a fantastic waterfront and weekly artisan market. Everyone is encouraged to continue to support and love Kirkcaldy and Kirkcaldy will continue to reward you, not only with fantastic goods, services, experiences but now with Kirkcaldy reward points too.”
Barnsley is introducing Mi Rewards as part of its coronavirus recovery work. Chris Savage, project manager in the markets and town centre services team at Barnsley Council, said:
“Alongside the Barnsley Gift Card, Mi Rewards is part of Barnsley Council’s work to support businesses to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme is a great way to support the local economy in Barnsley, rewarding shoppers for spending with local businesses. We’re at the early stage of engaging with businesses to get them on board and will soon be announcing details of the monthly prizes.”
Miconex was founded in 2010 and works with towns and cities across the UK, helping to support successful local economies. Miconex developed the UK’s first city wide gift card programme in Perth through its Town and City Gift Cards initiative in 2015. In 2020, over 60 cities/towns across the 4 countries of the UK are part of the Miconex Town and City Gift Card programme. This programme is designed to lock in money locally for participating businesses, drive footfall and stimulate economic activity, in effect creating a local currency through the Mastercard network. In 2018 Miconex launched Mi Rewards, a loyalty programme that automatically rewards consumers for spending money at registered businesses in a specific local economy, encouraging consumers to spend more in their town or city. The data and insights provided through Mi Rewards generates data and insights to help towns/cities and participating businesses to better understand customers, customer behaviour and to drive loyalty.