Preparations are well advanced for a loyalty card scheme, open to Caterham's businesses, residents and visitors.
What will the scheme consist of ?
Firstly local shops and businesses are invited to join a local scheme by Caterham Business Partnership and ABC - A Better Caterham. Final information packs to be distributed shortly. We hope that 30 plus local shops and services will join, from amongst local independent shops and services. A small joining fee will be charged to cover expenses. This is about 10 - 15% of the shops in the town today but more are very welcome.
Every shop or service joining the scheme will display the SHOP SMART poster and logos. Each one will decide their offer for customers. Perhaps it will be a £1 off a haircut, a free cup of coffee, a special offer, or some discount and participating businesses are free to choose.
Each business joining the scheme will also be featured in a variety of information sources, including a web site, a local directory and promotions and a competition to launch the scheme that will run during the Caterham Festival period from late May to the end of June.
Other towns that have tried this approach over the last three years have seen their local trade increase. Right now, with the overall economy in difficulty we would be happy to hold levels we have seen over the last year.
What about customers ?
A free loyalty card will be offered to anybody who lives here or visits the town. It will be a simple plastic membership card and issued to any person registering with the scheme. Minimal details will be needed to get a card but having address details will mean we can mail out information from time to time to the membership.
Although the cards will be numbered for identification, they will not show any other detail except the SHOP SMART Logo. Being in possession of a card will be taken as sufficient proof of being a member in general. We will comply with the data protection act and not misuse information. Our scheme is modelled on a similar one in the Forest of Dean, which covered several towns. The results there over 3 years have been a significant increase in local trade. Forest of Dean have provided very helpful background information we have used in developing our ideas.
How will the scheme be promoted ?
A couple of leaflets will be widely distributed within Caterham and surrounding area. Research shows that about half of those who visit and shop locally live either in the Town or very close by. We aim to get leaflets to 14,000 - 17,000 households, covering over 40,000 people explaining what the scheme is, the range of shops and services in Caterham and how to get a loyalty card. We will also target those from slightly further out in a variety of ways.
There has already been interest from local media and we will continue to seek coverage.
How many loyalty cards do you expect to issue ?
Other similar size towns like Haslemere have 7,500 plus loyalty cards in circulation, with 50 retail shops involved after 3 years. They began with around 4,000 cards and 30 shops. We will aim to start with 3,000 and 30 shops in the first year. Haslemere have also been very helpful in sharing their experiences.
What will the cards look like ?
They will be offered in a strip with one credit card size and two key ring size with a pre-punched hole.
How to get a loyalty card ?
Application forms will be distributed widely with local newspapers or newsletters and available in local shops displaying the SHOP SMART logos, or libraries and Volunteer Centre in Soper Hall.
A small number of shops displaying an "Apply Here" version of the SHOP SMART poster , will be able to issue cards on the spot and have stocks of cards and forms. This will save costs and speed up the availability of the cards to shoppers.
Otherwise forms can be posted in and cards will be posted back.
Is it just retail shops ?
No, it will cover services too, like hair dressers, taxis and perhaps some leisure outlets too. It is up to the participating business to create a loyalty offer.
We also intend to extend the reach of the scheme to include an effective directory of overall business in Caterham, which should assist the growing numbers of locally based small and medium sized businesses to interact.
Can I get help to decide on how to promote my shop or business ?
We have established contacts with Business Link and Train to Gain, both of whom are interested to work with us to help small businesses locally. We hope to establish some free events aimed at helping local shops, to be run in the town.
What about a web site ?
A web site is being built with a "Shop Face" of Caterham shop fronts and useful Caterham information. It will enable us to quickly tell people what is available and be part of how we deliver information about participating shops and member benefits. Behind the "shop front" we can provide brief details on each business. Those who have their own web sites can link to them and for anybody that wants to try a web shop, please come and talk to us, for we have been researching possibilities to offer this in the future as a more advanced service.
The intent is to develop towards a town "Hub" with information and services to promote what we have in Caterham, as well as being a foundation block for a Town Loyalty scheme.
I have heard about the "Origami leaflet" what is that?
In our research we liked the mini town directories that came from several towns in Derbyshire's High Peaks area, plus their overall SHOP SMART logo. With their permission we have used these to create a similar concept for Caterham. A draft is here and is part of what we will distribute to launch SHOP SMART. The Map is thanks to Graham Tapley and the Directory was put together by Chris Windridge. If you discover errors please contact us. ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are there any special incentives to get a card ?
Yes, there is a launch competition linked to the Caterham Festival, which is running for the first time this summer in Caterham.
Each place that signs up for the SHOP SMART scheme and displays a logo, will be listed in a Trail sheet, available from key shops, libraries and the Soper Hall Voluntary Service Centre. If loyalty scheme members and also those who are not, complete this by visiting all the participating SHOP SMART locations and getting a signature, they will be entered for a prize draw of a minimum of £100. The prize draw will be held at Caterham Carnival and the winner announced. The competition will run from late May to end of June. We have adapted this idea from a very successful window spotting competition idea run on Hayling Island to promote local shopping last Christmas. It links both Festival and SHOP SMART launches, when we hope visitors will be in the town.
Yes please. If anybody wants to sponsor a prize or otherwise become a SHOP SMART sponsor please get in touch.
Who is behind this scheme?
It came from discussions in ABC and the Caterham Business Partnership over Christmas, over what could be done in the short term to help the town's economy and those who live and work here. It has the support of both groups, who are looking at Hill and Valley areas. Tandridge District Council have been very supportive, as has Surrey County Council and our local MP Peter Ainsworth. Caterham Valley Parish Council is also supporting the scheme and we will hear shortly from Caterham Hill Parish Council. We have pledges of support from Business Link and Train to Gain in addition.
When will it be launched?
As soon as we can complete production of leaflets, cards and packs and sign up 30 shops. We anticipate this will be the end of May.
The Caterham Festival programme will include our Ad on the back cover, so look for those posters and begin to find the outlets who will be joining up. Here is the advert to round off this update:
SHOP SMART, SHOP LOCAL .
10 reasons to shop local
…things to let your customers know
1. Local shops sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices.
Many people get out of the habit of shopping locally & are then surprised by the range of products and gifts available.
2. Shopping local saves you money
Out of town shops have done a good job of convincing us all that sole traders = expensive, but the evidence just isn’t there to back this up . If you add in travel, parking costs, fees to transport larger items home and your time, the overall cost is often much higher.
3. Shopping locally retains our communities
People don’t like losing shops and services in small towns and villages but don’t equate this to how they spend their money. Shops will only survive if customers spend locally – so if you want a vibrant town centre, where people can socialise as well as shop, shop locally.
4. Shopping local retains our distinctiveness– no clone towns allowed!
Many town centres in Britain look the same with franchises and multinationals. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different products. Independent shops keep traditional local products alive. They respond more quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet the changing population needs. They can also be more innovative…….organic products were first developed by independent traders.
5. Shopping local saves the environment
We are all aware of CO2 emissions and our environmental impact. Local shops, which often stock a high percentage of local sourced goods, products and do not require long car & bus journeys to get to, help reduce our global footprint.
6. Shopping local creates jobs
Shops in our town centres and villages create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local economy. Over half a million people are employed in retail in our rural towns and villages. Evidence shows that for every £10 spent in an independent shop £25 is generated for the local economy compared to £14 spent in multinationals.
7. Local independent shops invest more in our communities
Sole traders and independent stores are proportionally more generous in their support for local charities, carnivals, schools and community events. So supporting local shops means a financial return for our community
8. Local shops are for everyone
Most people can get to their local shops easily and this is especially important for elderly, vulnerable and young people and those without transport. Keeping your shops open by buying locally helps the whole community.
9. Local shops value you more
Evidence from numerous surveys shows people receive better customer care and service in local shops. Traders survive by their reputation and repeat business - so shopping local means that you get a higher standard of service.
10. Shopping local saves services
Private, voluntary and public sector services cluster around shops. The loss of the high street often corresponds to a reduction in these services. As shops disappear, so do hairdressers, vets, dentists etc.
SO… shop smart, shop local