Early Christmas present to reward loyal shoppers

A MORPETH business group is aiming to introduce its new loyalty card scheme in time for pre-Christmas trading.

Plans are in place for an initial 5,000 to be produced and the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade will make them available to all firms and shopkeepers in the town.

As well as encouraging more people to shop in Morpeth by rewarding regular customer loyalty with discounts and innovative offers, it will drive greater numbers to the More in Morpeth promotional website and help the Chamber to bring in much needed funds.

Shoppers will be asked to fill out an application form for a card and the group will then be able to compile a database and send out information directly to them via email.

Lynn Oxley, who is leading the project along with fellow Chamber member Ken Stait, said: “More in Morpeth is about marketing the town as one business like the MetroCentre and Eldon Square and the loyalty card is aiming to increase footfall all over Morpeth.

“If traders come on board and embrace the scheme, it will lead to offers that are good for the customer and the retailer.

“This is the most exciting potential revenue stream that the Chamber has had for quite a long time as there are opportunities for businesses to advertise if they want to highlight their involvement.

“But at the moment we’re concentrating on putting something in place that works well and have it operational by this coming Christmas trading season.”

Firms will be given application forms and cards to hold in their premises and asked to promote a monthly offer of their own for customers who sign up.

Those taking part will be mentioned on the More in Morpeth website, along with their current offer, and for a monthly fee they can be prominently displayed in a flashing box on the site. They can highlight their business further with an advert on the Chamber’s monthly e-shot to all the customers on its database at introductory rates.

Mr Stait said: “Our More in Morpeth Working Group has divided the town into chunks and we’ve distributed a letter to all businesses about the scheme and our future plans, as well as giving those who are already on the website a chance to check their details.

“We’ve been looking at ways to build relationships with customers and drive more people into Morpeth and the loyalty card will play an important part in achieving this.”

He added that the group has received advice from a traders’ organisation in Scunthorpe which is running a similar scheme.

Chamber member Les Sage stressed the importance of businesses continuing their enthusiasm for the offers after the first few months, or it will not be a long-term success.

Participating shops will be given A4 posters for display, branded for the More in Morpeth loyalty card but with a blank space for them to add their offer.

They will also receive a promotional notice that will include a QR code, which customers can scan with a smart phone to take them straight to the More in Morpeth website.

The Chamber has worked out that the 5,000 cards and other provisions will cost just under £900.

Members have been invited to give their comments on the plans and the Committee group will decide at a meeting in the next couple of weeks whether or not to allocate the funding.