Enniskillen and Kirkwall share their local gift card success stories.
The heart of the community: The Enniskillen Gift Card
Enniskillen in Northern Ireland has a population of around 11,000 and introduced the Enniskillen Gift Card in 2017. Enniskillen achieved £140,000 in sales
Enniskillen in Northern Ireland has a population of around 11,000 and introduced the Enniskillen Gift Card in 2017. Enniskillen achieved £140,000 in sales in 2020, £161,000 in sales in 2021, and over £450,000 in total since its launch in 2017. Noelle McAloon, Enniskillen’s BID Manager, explained more about the stand out success of the Enniskillen Gift Card.
Why do you think the Enniskillen Gift Card has been so successful?
“We say that with the gift card, you’re putting a little bit of Enniskillen in someone’s pocket. When we first launched the gift card on the 25th November 2017, we didn’t do much advertising but took £27,000 in sales before Christmas because people were thrilled at the idea of being able to buy a gift card for their town. There’s definite pride in saying ‘this is a gift card for my home town or my home county’. And people love the brand too, seeing the spires of the church and the castle on the card itself. We build on this pride and ownership through our competitions, asking what they love the most about Enniskillen. For me, the ultimate endorsement is when someone says they had a gift card given to them last year, and this year they’re giving it as a gift. It doesn’t get better than that.”
How do you market your gift card?
“For us, the key has been consistent marketing and making the Enniskillen Gift Card integral to the community. We’ll use it for giveaways for events we’re running, and local groups will come to us to ask for an Enniskillen Gift Card as a prize. We have strong links with the local press and use social media to good effect. Some of the best social posts we do are ones that tap into local pride and love for Enniskillen, like what do you love most about Enniskillen, tell us and you could win an Enniskillen Gift Card. We invest in paid Facebook ads focused on key sales occasions, such as birthdays, Mother’s Day and so on. But we monitor our paid ads carefully, if an ad isn’t working, we’re quick to switch it out for something else.
“Influencer activity has been good for us. At first influencers might see the gift card as just a gift card, but when they come here and experience the Enniskillen Gift Card they are so enthused, and it can help to bring in customers from outside the area.
“It’s not only us though that markets the gift card, as our businesses do that too. We encourage merchants to use the gift card as part of their marketing strategy, and give them the tools to do that, for example by encouraging their customers to redeem their card with them with spend inspiration. It’s about reminding our businesses that there are thousands of pounds sitting there on gift cards that could be spent with them, and then those businesses encouraging their customers to spend their gift card with them.”
What return on investment do you get for your gift card
“The level of engagement the gift card gives us with businesses is invaluable. We introduced the Enniskillen Gift Card in 2017, each year there has been a growing realisation from businesses about the benefits of the scheme. No matter what, you always have the common ground of the gift card with the statistics to back up the benefit to businesses, such as the 65% overspend and the likelihood that customers will go for higher ticket items.
“I know for other places that when they market the destination, the call to action can be difficult. With a gift card system in place, that CTA is always clear and alongside the distinct branding, it’s a lovely package to sell. We’ve had success in packaging the gift card with a hotel stay. Another really positive outcome of the gift card is the customer experience. Because our businesses are behind the gift card, they know what it is and how to accept it, you also know that the recipient journey is going to be positive, and that gives people the confidence to give the Enniskillen Gift Card as a gift, especially for those that are outside the area.”
How do you access the corporate market?
“Corporate sales were strong in 2020 after employers rewarded staff after a difficult year. At Christmas 2021, the corporate gift card market was different yet again, and perhaps some places would top up a night out with an Enniskillen Gift Card. The key for us has been keeping up the contact with our corporate businesses through the year, building relationships, so the gift card is top of mind when employers are making the decisions about how to reward staff.
“We had one local newspaper group that celebrated 120 years of operation with a £120 Enniskillen Gift Card for staff that lived locally. The staff that didn’t live locally were asked where they wanted a gift card which is a difficult decision, just one single retailer or restaurant to spend a gift card. The benefit of the Enniskillen Gift Card is the choice it offers, so staff don’t have to pick a specific brand, they can spend on what they like when they like.”
What’s next for the Enniskillen Gift Card?
“More marketing, more opportunities to sell Enniskillen through the gift card, and hopefully lots more sales!”