Borders town leads with new programme to encourage local and loyal shopping

An innovative new initiative that rewards regular local shopping has launched in Galashiels. Over 30 businesses in Galashiels have signed up to the programme that automatically rewards customers for shopping with them, including retail, hospitality and leisure venues.  

The new loyalty programme is the latest project from Energise Galashiels Trust to create a more vibrant community, and has been introduced following two-year funding from Scotland’s Towns Partnership.

Mi Rewards Galashiels is linked to customers’ regular payment cards, with no need to show a separate loyalty card. Participants earn 1 point for every £1 spent locally, and every 10 points becomes an entry into a monthly prize draw to win local prizes that showcase the best of the area.

Local prizes on offer in the coming months include cinema visits, jewellery and accessories, furniture, technology and dining out experiences. There is also the chance for participants to win national prizes, with a Lay-Z-spa Barbados AirJet as the prize for June.

Debbie Paterson of Energise Galashiels Trust said: Our continued work in supporting the business owners of Galashiels, specifically those located in the town centre, has taken a significant step forward with the launch of the Mi Rewards programme. Offering our businesses the opportunity to be part of a customer reward programme that requires little effort on their part, that also gives our shoppers the chance to win local and national prizes as a reward for their loyalty, is fantastic.

“We are proud that Galashiels is the first town in the south of Scotland to be running a programme like Mi Rewards and we hope both businesses and customers use it to its full advantage.”

There is no cost or additional equipment required for businesses in Galashiels to be a part of Mi Rewards. Galashiels businesses that have already signed up to the initiative include Kinalba, the Pavilion Cinema, Torwoodlee Golf Club, The Salmon Inn, Bulldog Bakes, Inis, Music Station and Tzunun.

Businesses can also personalise the programme to their needs, such as promoting new products or adjusting how many points make an entry into the prize draw.

Naomi Hodgson is the owner of Unwind Yarns and has been a business owner in Galashiels for over 4 years, first taking over The Wool Shop and then opening Unwind Yarns in October 2020. Naomi believes that Mi Rewards can encourage people to think local and support local:

“The programme sounds very exciting for businesses and shoppers. It’s great to have something to reward people who continue to shop locally and hopefully it will encourage others to think about popping into their local florists the next time they buy flowers, their butchers for the burgers for their barbecues this summer or one of our many lovely gift shops to buy a card for someone instead of going to the supermarket.

“If we all changed to buying just one of our usual monthly purchases from a local business, it would make a huge difference to our high street and it’s always nice to get a good chat with the lovely people who work in these businesses. I truly feel that we’re very lucky to have so many people working on trying to keep our high street alive.”

Nail technician and make-up artist Nicola Tonner said: “Having set up my business during the Covid-19 pandemic, following my move to Galashiels from Edinburgh, I have been really impressed with the support offered by Energise Galashiels Trust. The Mi Rewards programme is a brilliant tool that I can easily use to reward my clients and promote that I’m part of the town’s business community too.”

Mike McGarvey and Lynn Hammerton Patterson are the owners of Tartan Plus Tweed Ltd who will celebrate their 10th anniversary of trading in Galashiels in 2022. Lynn said that Mi Rewards Galashiels gives their business an opportunity to run a loyalty programme:

“Rewards schemes in general encourage customer retention and are usually run by the larger businesses. It’s great to have a local scheme that SME retailers can adopt and be part of. We hope it drives visitors to both our high street shop and our website.”

The technology for the Mi Rewards programme is provided by Perth based fintech Miconex, and is active in 10 towns and cities across the UK. Mi Rewards Galashiels joins Kirkcaldy and Perth as the third Scottish programme, and the first in the South of the country.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said: “Mi Rewards Galashiels is a way that businesses can work together to create an impactful loyalty initiative for the town. Traditional loyalty programmes erode profit margins for businesses. Mi Rewards is a high tech system that is completely frictionless and works alongside a business owner’s existing business model and marketing, without the need for new equipment, staff training or loss of profits.

“It’s also easy for customers and provides an extra incentive to support local businesses with appealing local prizes on offer and high value national prizes too.”