Tuesday, July 2, 2013

More on Tonbridge Loyalty Card....

This letter from Susan Adams of the Tonbridge Town Team tells us everything about how our town is to get some TLC (that's short for Tonbridge Loyalty Card.) Maybe I'm just an old cynic but I'm still not convinced that this initiative will save the town and that it's not all maybe just a bit too old hat. Or does every little help? Might it be worth 50 quid to find out? What do you reckon??
Here's the letter from Mrs. Adams:
Those businesses that opened two Sundays ago for the Taste of Tonbridge day did exceptionally well, with reported crowds in our town centre of over 20,000. 

I was surprised how many shops managed to find window space to advertise a show in Tunbridge Wells that was on at the same time, but not for this event that would keep the public in Tonbridge.


To build on the Taste of Tonbridge success, the Town Team aim to launch a Tonbridge Loyalty Card on 1st October.  A basic overview of the scheme is as follows (N.B.  IT IS NOT A DISCOUNT SCHEME)

  • Cards are given out to shoppers at no cost (available from various locations in the town, from participating traders, shops, businesses)
  • Participating shop, businesses, traders each have a unique Tonbridge rubber stamp
  • Every time someone spends £10, their card is stamped (maximum of 3 cards/18 stamps in any one spend) - if participants collectively felt a £10 spend was not enough, or indeed too much, this could be tweaked
  • Once a card is full (6 stamps in total) shoppers then "post" the completed card into prize boxes - these would be hosted at various town locations.
  • Once a month there will be a prize draw, the owner of the winning card is issued with £50 of Tonbridge vouchers (issued in various denominations) to be redeemed in any of the participating shops and businesses.
  • How the redemption works - for example someone buys a bike from you and has £50 of Tonbridge Loyalty vouchers - you would validate the vouchers and deduct £50 from their spend.  You then return the validated vouchers to the Town Team, who in turn refund you £50.  Therefore even though the vouchers have been redeemed in your shop, you are not at a loss.

That in a nutshell is how the proposed scheme would operate (there would have to be a set of rules and standards, ie any winning card agrees to have their picture in the local press, as a prize draw with no visual winner is not good promotion for the scheme) - it's not a discount scheme and businesses are not actually giving money away to customers, it's all about promoting shopping and using local shops and businesses and a networking means for participants.  There would be advertising in the local paper with a photo of the monthly winner being presented with their vouchers by a participating business, and underneath the article (how this works elsewhere) a list of the participating businesses.


The cost to each participating business would be £50 a year, and for this each would be issued with a unique Tonbridge rubber stamp, cards to go in their window and by the till, and also a number of cards for giving to customers for stamping.  The scheme would run January to December, so anyone joining in the first year would get 15 months for the price of 12 (ie October 2013 to December 2014).


Nothing is set in concrete. The prize draw figures could be altered and if the scheme grew we could then afford to have a number of monthly draws, a bumper month or could decide to say put on a late night shoppers event etc etc  Also this type of scheme is not limited just to High Street shops, we see it including all town trades, shops and businesses in Tonbridge.   


Members of the Town Team will call on you shortly to request your involvement.  Any questions, please do not hesitate to ask them, or email me.


Kind regards

Susan Adams


Anonymous said...

So do your sums, What will the £50 cost you when set against your business costs? Then if none of the prize vouchers are spent in your shop then that what you lose. But if one voucher is spent what profit will you make on that sale? Nothing like your outlay I suspect.
To me I doubt whether it will bring extra customers to the town or your shop, its too Micky Mouse and the same scheme as they operate in Sevenoaks (13 shops signed up). Now give your customers a cup of tea and I am sure they will come back.

Paul Bailey said...

manofkent rightly describes the Tonbridge Town Team loyalty card scheme as "Mickey Mouse", and I whole heartedly agree with this sentiment. Spend £50 to be entered in a monthly prize draw, big deal! That's not going to entice me to shop in the town, and neither I suspect will it encourage many other people.

What persuade me to shop in Tonbridge is for shops to provide goods and services I actually want, otherwise my money stays firmly in my pocket, or I shop somewhere that CAN provide these things.

Shops in Tonbridge need to up their game, and I'm pleased to see that some already have - the new butchers for example and, dare I say it, MR Books. Unfortunately these are rare examples of independent shops offering what people actually want, but as others have pointed out, most of the town consists of hairdressers and charity shops!

Tonbridge Town Team are missing the point with their gimmicky loyalty scheme. What they should be doing is enticing independent traders back into the town.For example, Tonbridge is crying out for a record shop, or a proper gents outfitters, and how about a decent off-licence selling traditional, or hard to obtain beers?? (No, I'm not planning to start one up again, given the high rents, excessive business rates and unsocial hours involved.)

Towns such as Lewes have managed this quite successfully. Surely Tonbridge Town Team could come up with something similar, rather than a few moth-eaten cards and a rubber stamp?

Paul Bailey said...

ps. Following up on manofkent's suggestion, when are you going to start offering cups of tea in your shop, TB?