Encouraging people to shop locally to boost the Tenterterfield economy will become much easier with the launch of the Tenterfield True gift card which can only be redeemed at participating Tenterfield businesses.
“This is a fantastic local shopping initiative,” chamber president Vince Sherry said at the card’s launch at a business breakfast held at The Maze on September 29.
The gift cards have been designed and are now in production, with organisers seeking around 10 local businesses to act as load-up sites where the cards can be purchased and loaded with any amount, paid for in any manner.
The Tenterfield True cards then act as an EFTPOS card at any business whose EFTPOS machine has been enabled for the cards, with the transactions processed as a refund.
The system, sponsored by the chamber through program administrator Why Leave Town Promotions based in Narrabri, operates at no cost to the business or consumer.
So far the gifts cards have been introduced to more the 27 communities involving more than 1000 local businesses. Why Leave Town’s Ashley Watt calculates that every $100 in gift cards results in a $180 benefit to the community.
A percentage of the value of cards that haven’t been fully redeemed by their 12-month use-by date is returned to the chamber for investment in other programs.
While the cards will be an easy gift-giving alternative that also helps local businesses, organisers sees huge value in using the cards on a larger scale, such as ‘money back’ business promotions (stay an extra night, get a $20 gift card, for instance), sponsorships and prizes. They’ll certainly be the rewards on offer for the chamber’s upcoming Christmas promotion, for instance.
Mr Watt said bulk purchases of cards for promotional purposes can be done directly through Why Leave Town, and there’s also capacity to track at which businesses gift cards are redeemed.
The cards should hit the streets in late November, as the chamber works to get businesses on board. Card sponsorship opportunities are available, with space on the front of the card for a logo.
The gift cards are single-load cards (load once, use many times) with a PIN on the back, and values from $10-$5000 can be loaded (ideally no more than $1000). Purchasers can check card balances online or by phone, and registered cards can be replaced if lost.
Businesses interested in getting on board with the promotion can register through the tenterfieldchamber.com.au website.
Why leave town?
Why Leave Town’s Ashley Watt was on hand to speak to businesses about the cards at the product launch. He set up the business in 2007 after years in the market research area both domestically and internationally. Returning to his homebase in Narrabri to raise his family, he is passionate about motivating people to get involved in their community.
Mr Watt said the local gift cards are just one way to make it easy for people to shop locally, along with other initiatives like adjusting trading hours to cater to 9-5 workers and offering great post-purchase service.
He also encouraged businesses to have an online presence to complement their shopfront, with a website to bring together the threads of social media posts and other promotional activities. He encouraged business owners to use SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tools to rise to the top of online search lists.
He thought a combined online community shop could also be an option for Tenterfield. ClickFrenzy has had success doing this on a national scale, but Mr Watt said utlimately people want to shop with others they know and trust.
Free trials are a great business promotion, be they free gym sessions or perhaps a 2-for-1 deal in a restaurant.
“Continually update what you offer, and stay relevant,” he said.
“Go above and beyond price.”
He encouraged businesses to act as local advocates, referring visitors to other businesses in town. Training for restaurant staff in local wines, for instance, could be mutually beneficial.
“It’s important for everyone to be on the same page.”