Half a million in sales for ‘transformative’ Sligo BID gift card

Community leaders in Sligo are praising a local gift card initiative for its positive impact on the local economy, by giving consumers and organisations an easy way to show their support for the town.

Over €500,000 of Love Sligo Gift Cards have been sold in the town over the past 5 months with over a quarter of a million euros already redeemed across the 217 local businesses who accept the card in Sligo.

Local community platform County Sligo LEADER Partnership, one of 49 local development companies in Ireland that deliver a range of programmes focused on enhancing the quality of life for disadvantaged individuals and communities, funded 75% of the launch costs for the card, alongside Sligo BID.

John Feerick, CEO at Sligo LEADER said the success of the initiative has surpassed expectations:

“As a local development company, it was a no-brainer for us to partner with Sligo BID on the gift card. It was about supporting a local initiative in Sligo that increases footfall, supports the businesses of Sligo and promotes a shop local ethos during a challenging period for merchants. The project went before the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and was approved.

“The success of the initiative has surpassed our expectations. €500,000 of cards sold in such a short time is incredible and is down to the buy in from consumers and organisations. We even bought the card ourselves for our own staff at Christmas. Everyone appreciates the need to support local businesses, and support people’s livelihoods, by purchasing the cards.

“It’s not just a card for retail, it can be used with a range of national and local businesses, including hospitality, salons, hotels and services, sharing the benefit across a range of sectors. People can spend their card on their weekly shop or getting their car serviced, as much as on new clothes or a meal out.

“Corporate social responsibility is a huge thing for organisations now, and by using the card for their staff rewards and incentives, the organisation is able to direct that spend locally, supporting their CSR efforts. Sligo BID did a great job of promoting the card to organisations and ensuring accessibility of the card, making it easy for organisations to switch from the national cards they were using.

“It is great for Sligo LEADER and the LCDC to be a part of something that is such a good news story for Sligo, it has been a huge success that will continue to build throughout 2024.”

Mark Cunningham, Love Sligo Programme Coordinator, says the economic impact of the card is significant:

“The Love Sligo Gift Card has been transformative for our town, disrupting the traditional gift card models. Sligo BID, led by Gail McGibbon, identified a need for a gift card in Sligo with zero percent commission for businesses. The resulting partnership with Miconex on the Love Sligo Gift Card, coupled with an intense locally focused marketing campaign focusing on the key economic benefits of the card, has resulted in great success for the program.

“In the lead up to Christmas, 100+ local firms took the decision to make the Love Sligo Gift Card their employee reward. This, combined with a huge surge in consumer sales thanks to strong local awareness of the card, helped sales revenues to exceed targets set out at the outset of the campaign.

“We also know that people typically spend anywhere between 65% and 125% more when they redeem their card, meaning the impact of the cards sold to date for the local economy is significant.

“We’re thankful to Sligo LEADER for their partnership on the gift card that has kept more money locked into Sligo than ever before. A big thank you is also due to local institution Mullaney Bros, to John and all the staff, for providing an invaluable physical sales point for the gift card in their store. With Mullaney Bros being a well-known local business with a strong retail presence in the town, the physical sales point contributed positively to gift card sales by enhancing accessibility.”

Gail McGibbon, CEO at Sligo BID said: “A huge benefit of the Love Sligo Gift Card is that there are no costs to businesses in registration, setup or acceptance of the card. Other competing gift cards carry commission rates of 7-12% for the business, which is a big hit to the retailer. By choosing the Love Sligo Gift Card, customers can be reassured in knowing that the business they spend their gift card with will keep 100% of that transaction.

“As a BID, we recognise Mark’s fantastic effort in managing a multifaceted project that exceeded the targets initially set. That sales have continued strong in January and February bodes well for the sustainability and viability of the Love Sligo card throughout 2024.”

The Love Sligo Gift Card is part of the Town & City Gift Card concept from fintech Miconex, active across Ireland. Davin Doherty is Client Success Manager for Ireland at Town & City Gift Cards and said:

“The success of the Love Sligo Gift Card over the past 5 months is phenomenal, especially the corporate buy in from organisations using the card for rewards and incentives. Already in 2024, we’re seeing many of these organisations placing a second order as they see the benefits of choosing a local gift card option for their town.”

The Love Sligo Gift Card is available to purchase online at www.lovesligocard.com and in person at the Sligo Tourist Information Centre and Mullaneys. ‘Grab and Load’ cards can also be picked up and loaded with value at 6 locations in Sligo: Centra, Sligo Credit Union, Conway & Sons, Healthwise Pharmacy, Ward’s Pharmacy and Centra Castle Street.

Businesses interested in using the Love Sligo Gift Card for rewards and incentives can email: mark@lovesligocard.com

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