Business Exchange Card Boosts Trading

An innovative Business Exchange employee privilege card, created by the Solihull Business Improvement District (BID) team, is encouraging thousands of town centre employees to discover the diverse range of local retailers and services where they work, boosting trading and creating a longer-term ‘shop local’ loyalty amongst businesses within the BID business district.

Sent to 10,000 town centre employees, the card gives access to exclusive offers from over 100 retailers and services designed to entice customers to not only try them – but build a long term relationship with them too. Twice weekly e-shots keep users updated on new offers and participating retailers and services.
Despite the tough economic climate affecting the high street, the card has already been presented over 1000 times in different outlets across the town. Numerous retailers are reporting increased trading as a direct result of the card – both new visitors and also additional spend by existing customers.

Nandos alone saw 150 cards presented in the first week by new groups of younger employees trying Nandos for the first time. Bar managers at Après have reported groups of employees using their card to arrange lunches or drinks after work in order to take advantage of the offers and Swarovski Crystal in Touchwood has experienced customers choosing to buy additional products as a result of the offers they benefit from when presenting the Business Exchange card.

For many Solihull-based employees the Business Exchange card has also broadened their understanding of what the town has to offer. Independent clothing, jewellery and gifts boutique Aspire has suddenly experienced a stream of men seeking them out to buy gifts for the ladies in their lives.

Shirley Sturzaker, Director of Solihull BID, said: “We are extremely pleased with the response. Our objectives for the card were to increase awareness of the range of retailers and services in the town, to encourage loyalty spending from town centre employees and increase the feel good factor that Solihull is a great place to work.

“The project required only very modest expenditure from the BID budget, which is funded through a levy on businesses in central Solihull and is a great example of how we can increase footfall to Solihull shops, services, bars and restaurants by being innovative and by looking, literally, on our doorsteps for new customers.”

To encourage early sign up, the Business Exchange card was launched with a competition to win a case of wine from Laithwaites Fine Wines. This was won by Simon Hale, the Commercial Operations manager for Simple Health and Beauty, also based in Blenheim Court in Solihull. Mr Hale said: “I have found the card has encouraged me to shop and dine in Solihull. Particular favourites have been Cafe Rouge and The Handmade Burger Co. Having a wife and two daughters, the Aspire discount has been of particular interest!”


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