Downtown gift card company Miconex has announced new program launches in Canada, alongside EML Payments Limited, following the success of existing gift card systems for Prince Edward Island and Peterborough. The new ‘Downtown Dollars’ systems are set to launch in Downtown Sudbury and Downtown London in 2021.
The Canada’s Food Island Gift Card was introduced by the Food Island Partnership in September 2020 to stimulate the economy and lock in spend on Prince Edward Island. The initiative was supported by the P.E.I government, with gift cards sold at 20% discount. Over $3.7 million has now been loaded onto Canada’s Food Island Gift Cards.
The province recently announced a new staycation incentive, with a $100 gift card given with each consecutive two-night stay at participating P.E.I accommodation, as part of a $66 million support package for the island’s tourism industry.
Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) launched the Boro Gift Card in December 2020 replacing its paper Downtown Money system. Within its first month, the Boro Gift Card achieved $70,000 in sales- equivalent to around 5 years of sales for their old paper system. Over $120,000 of Downtown Dollars have been sold to date.
In September, Downtown London will also replace its Downtown Dollars program with a gift card powered by Miconex and EML. The new gift cards can be loaded with any dollar amount and spent in person at participating businesses or online on Downtown London’s Online Marketplace.
Sudbury’s new gift card is the latest initiative from Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Association (BIA) to encourage people to visit and shop in the core. Downtown Dollars can be purchased at Miconex’s My Downtown Gift Cards website, and spent with numerous businesses in Sudbury, such as restaurants, retailers, salons and attractions.
In the US, Miconex will also introduce new gift card programs in South Dakota, Alabama, Idaho and Massachusetts in 2021, adding to existing systems in Alaska, Montana, Virginia, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts and Colorado.
Andy Monaghan is CEO of Miconex North America and said:
“In any Canadian province, there are multiple organizations focused on the success of businesses, from DBIAs and local Chambers of Commerce to local government. As well as stimulating the economy, these organizations naturally feel they have a role to play in bringing consumers back. A gift card system is a tangible way that they can support small, local businesses. It also means they can be ready for the holiday period when demand for gift cards will rocket.
“In Canada, the average spend on gift cards is $465 per year, per person. There are millions, even tens of million dollars being spent in each community. This significant amount of money goes to the big national and international chains and internet retailers. Introducing a program means provinces can harness that spend, and take their fair share of the gift card market.
“But if places can move a step beyond this, and see their program not as a gift card but a local currency, it paves the way for innovative tourism initiatives like we’ve seen on Prince Edward Island and disbursement of funds to local residents. There is an opportunity to be hugely creative. Our job at Miconex is helping provinces to figure out the challenges they’re facing right now and a plan for success that benefits the whole community.”