How Mi Rewards and Fidel are reviving the High Street with city-wide card-linked loyalty
With Colin Munro, Managing Director at Miconex
- Perth, Scotland
- Cities live in
- Perth, Scotland
How do you create local loyalty programmes that keep customers coming back to the High Street? Colin Munro, Managing Director at Miconex, has a few ideas.
Miconex runs town and city loyalty programmes. Their aim is to drive footfall into town centres, encourage the discovery of new businesses and stimulate additional economic activity.
It’s difficult to do well. While town and city loyalty programmes might see good engagement initially, results tend to dwindle eventually. Customers stop using their loyalty cards, businesses drop out, and communication gets messy. In the UK, there have been more than 3,000 attempts made at town and city loyalty programmes over the last ten years. They’ve had little or no measurable success.
Colin wanted to do things differently. Miconex partnered with Stampfeet to create a new model for city-wide loyalty: Mi Rewards. With the help of Fidel, Mi Rewards launched in Perth, Scotland, in 2018. It was designed to drive additional footfall to Perth businesses, and reward residents for shopping locally.
“Defining loyalty is easy”, says Colin. “It comes down to identifying the person at the point of sale in order to give them something extra - something to reward them for being loyal.” But finding a way to do that was less straightforward. There were a number of hurdles to overcome.
Identifying customers relied on them scanning loyalty cards, coupons or codes at the point of sale. They’d frequently forget, especially when it came to smaller transactions. Since customer experience was core to the success of the programme, multi-step solutions wouldn’t cut it. Colin needed a frictionless redemption journey that could deliver instant gratification for customers.
A further issue was that all the local businesses in Perth used different Point of Sale (POS) systems. Integrating with each of them individually would be expensive and complex. Colin needed a solution that could easily integrate with a range of POS systems, without asking businesses to pay for or maintain additional hardware.
“Fidel have provided fantastic ongoing support for the project which has enabled us to quickly test this new smart city rewards programme. The data generated from this card-linked programme enables a new understanding of how consumers interact with cities!”
Building a proprietary solution for data capture was a no-go: the cost and compliance risks would be too high. Marketing offer platforms wouldn’t work either, as inflexible data-sharing agreements (DSAs) meant Miconex might have to share their offers with competitors.
Colin found Fidel through Miconex’s business partner, Stampfeet. Fidel’s card-linking API provided an easy way to gather crucial transaction data, without adding friction for customers or complex integrations for businesses.
Fidel makes it frictionless for customers to enrol with the Mi Rewards programme. They simply scan their payment card to register, then shop as usual, with qualifying rewards automatically earned in real-time. There’s no need for additional steps that cause friction, so it’s a better experience for them. And because they don’t need to identify themselves every time they shop, there’s no need for staff training, hardware or software.
It makes life easier for Colin, too. By using Fidel’s card-linking API, merchants can connect to Mi Rewards through a single API – whatever POS system they’re using. It’s a simple integration that cuts cost, complexity and compliance headaches.
Integration with Fidel took an afternoon, and meant Colin could get the whole Mi Rewards programme off the ground in just 16 weeks. There are now around 80 local businesses participating in the Mi Rewards programme, and 2,200 consumer cards registered – a sizeable proportion of Perth’s 30,000 adult population. In the first six months since launch, Mi Rewards contributed £140,000 in increased spend to the local economy.
Even more valuable is the amount of data that Mi Rewards has generated for its stakeholders in Perth. “Local businesses now have a better understanding of the types of people spending money in their stores, what they’re spending money on, and what the economic impact of that is” Colin explains. “With that data, they’re able to measure the impact of different approaches and create loyalty by offering more relevant and timely rewards”.
Following the success of the Perth programme, Colin is now rolling out card-linked loyalty to hundreds of other Business Improvement Districts across the UK, starting with Gloucester and Enniskillen. “Fidel has provided fantastic ongoing support for the project which has enabled us to quickly test this new smart city rewards programme. The data generated from this card-linked programme enables a new understanding of how consumers interact with cities” says Colin. “We’ve got a model that works”.