Supporting local independents has never been more important than it is today, writes Tracy Hargreaves
With department stores closing down every minute, and more empty shops than ever, the British high street is said to be diminishing with many retailers failing to adapt or review their offering. But there’s one area of Lancashire that is pulling together to get consumers to love local.
Loyal to Fylde is the brainchild of 37-year-old Shaun O’Meara. He came up with the idea of a loyalty card back in 2016 but it wasn’t the right time to invest in the idea. However, after eight months in the making, the loyalty and rewards card, was launched only three months ago and now already has over 35 local businesses signed up with more planning to join. In the first eight weeks alone, customers spent more than £1000 using the reward card.
“The idea behind the card,” said Shaun “Is for the customer and the retailer to benefit by getting repeat custom and offering rewards for that custom. Companies pay from £20 to sign up for a year to be part of the scheme. This allows them to run their own offers suitable for their business, so the target and the rewards are set by them and can be changed regularly. It is digitally managed by downloading an app on their tablet or pc, so no cards or stamps required. Each card has a unique number on it. The point of sale at the store is equipped with the app and all the shop assistant has to do is enter the card holder’s number to add on any points, which is one point per £1 spent.”
Currently the card covers selected retailers in St Annes, Ansdell and Fairhaven, Lytham and Kirkham and Wesham and covers a wide range including restaurants, clothing stores, coffee shops, bakeries, hairdressers, concierge and Reiki.
Customers can purchase the card through the loyaltofylde.co.uk website priced at £12 a year. Members gain access to more than 70 local discounts, offers and rewards currently and growing by the week. It is incredible value for money with hundreds to be saved over the course of an annual membership. “We hope that as many customers will sign up as possible and keep shopping local,” said Shaun. “We have some great independent businesses in the area and we hope to keep these businesses booming. I’ve tried to keep the scheme as simple and as user friendly as possible. Customers can filter the retailers down to an area on the website, so they know where they can use their card and retailers all have the Loyal to Fylde sticker in their window.”
The scheme is also supported and endorsed by Fylde Council. Its chief executive said: “Supporting local independent businesses who employ local people has long been a core principle of the council’s economic policy. The Loyal to Fylde brand clearly contributes to this and I would encourage customers and businesses to get involved.”
So, if you make one change in 2019, love local. Local support of our independent retailers grants them a greater opportunity to thrive through increased visibility and footfall potential.