Bargains on the cards

A NEW Morpeth loyalty card could be offered to shoppers as the next phase in a town-wide business campaign.

Plans have been drawn up by the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and Beach Design to create a card promoting the More in Morpeth brand.

The scheme would be open to all shoppers, who would fill out an application form for a card, which could then be used to access special offers and discounts at all participating businesses.

It would also link to the More in Morpeth website, displaying deals of the week, and by taking customers’ email addresses, the chamber would be able to compile a database of local shoppers and send out information directly to them.

Chamber member Ken Stait, who is leading the project, said: “The loyalty card is to try to give some cracking deals from the traders to the community. These offers will be on the website so the website directs traffic to the shops and the shops direct traffic to the website. It also gives us the chance to get some communication going with our customers.

“People are looking for something more than just a bland discount now and this card could lead to some really creative deals for people.”

The card would tie in to the chamber’s wider More in Morpeth marketing strategy.

The group has spent £1,700 in legal fees and charges to safeguard the brand and is now looking to put it to maximum use.

Designs have also been drafted for a whole traders’ pack of items, including More in Morpeth bunting, gift vouchers, wobblers, stickers, opening hours signs and an open/closed swing notice.

The website for the brand is already in operation.

Mr Stait said: “We have spent £1,700 on protecting the More in Morpeth initiative so we have got to make it work. There is no point raising this money, spending it to try to protect the brand and then sitting on a website.

“It is about reinforcing the brand and giving something to the retailers that is going to be useful. We would basically create packs to go out to the shops. We have got a great brand there and we need to maximise it and use it. It is about promoting the town, which is the crux of what the chamber of trade is all about.”

Mr Stait said it would cost about £1,000 to produce 10,000 loyalty cards and application forms, with 250 each of the other items.

There are also plans to make a town tourist map, which he said could bring in an annual income for the chamber of around £5,000 from advertising. The map could be placed in visitor accommodation, tourist information centres, Morpeth Town Hall and in dispensers in car parks.

The chamber has already allocated £2,000 to promote Morpeth following disruption and a massive fall in trade from the roadworks, as well as having secured £500 each from Morpeth Town Council, Dransfield Properties and Northumbrian Water for the campaign.

It is estimated that £1,700 has been spent on producing leaflets, advertising and entertainment for the initiative and traders were told that a further £1,000 could be set aside for the More In Morpeth scheme.

Chamber member Geoff Proudlock said: “As a shopkeeper, I think this is a first-class way to go. I do think we should pay £1,000 of our money to do it, but I would perhaps like to see a little bit more detail of the organisation and the whole distribution of it, and how it is going to work.”

Mr Stait said he was looking into the possibility of business students taking on the task of presenting the scheme to retailers and getting them to sign up to it, but more work is needed before firm plans can be put forward.

Members agreed to allocate £1,000 for the venture, subject to a clear marketing strategy and details of the scheme’s roll out being presented.