20 January 2022
13 benefits of Mi Rewards: the smart solution to town and city loyalty
Mi Rewards is a place based, frictionless loyalty program that rewards users every time they shop at local businesses, and drives local spend. Originally launched in Perth, Scotland, in 2018, Mi Rewards has expanded across the UK to seven new towns and cities. In 2021, Mi Rewards reached a milestone £1 million in sales and 47,000 transactions. In this article, we’re looking at 13 of the major benefits of Mi Rewards for places, businesses and customers.
1. No need to remember a gift card. One of the main reasons that traditional loyalty schemes fail is that they require the customer to remember to take a loyalty card with them, or log into an app on their phone. In the customer’s internal benefit vs. effort analysis, the effort outweighs the benefit. Mi Rewards requires one action from the customer, to link existing credit and debit cards to their Mi Rewards account. Then, every time they pay with one of their registered cards in a registered business, they receive points. In this way, Mi Rewards is frictionless and offers a simple user experience that rewards shoppers when they spend locally.
2. A loyalty program that works. In Perth, a city of around 50,000 people, the Mi Rewards program has impressive penetration, with 6000 registered users and 70 businesses where you can earn points. This demonstrates the appeal of the system for customers, and businesses.
3. Works for all types and sizes of business. A huge plus point for places, businesses and customers is that Mi Rewards works no matter the size of the business, or the size of the transaction. So, where a customer may not have bothered to pull out a loyalty card for smaller transactions, with Mi Rewards, they are rewarded no matter the transaction size. This extends the reach and usefulness of the program for all types of businesses.
Enniskillen in Northern Ireland introduced Mi Rewards to complement their Enniskillen Gift Card. Noelle McAloon BID Manager at Experience Enniskillen said:
“Loyalty has always been the ultimate aim for towns and cities, but it’s particularly on the agenda now. The pandemic has shown us that our town centres are changing, places have no choice but to change too, to be proactive with their approach to loyalty and also reactive to the challenges of the pandemic. The technology that Mi Rewards offers, and its data capabilities, will help our businesses to achieve loyalty, helping them to stay better connected to customers and encouraging repeat visits. Customers seem to really like it as an offering.”
4. POS. As Mi Rewards works with existing software, there is no need for businesses to buy or install anything new. Mi Rewards works through a single API, meaning that no matter the POS system that individual merchants use within the town or city, they can all participate in the program. To take part in Mi Rewards, the business needs to register their existing terminal, and that’s it. Making it easy and accessible for all merchants to be a part of the scheme increases merchant participation, creating a loyalty program for the town or city that customers want to be a part of.
5. Exciting data insights. One aspect of Mi Rewards that both places and businesses are hugely excited by is the spending insight that the program offers. This spending data allows businesses and places to better understand who is spending money in their businesses, what they are buying and when, allowing them to be more strategic in their marketing, to further drive footfall and spend within their towns and cities.
Emily Queen, city and town centre management officer for Perth and Kinross Council said:
“From the Mi Rewards dashboard, we can see customers’ MOSAIC profiles, including background and location to better understand their choices, preferences and habits, information that businesses can use to tailor their offering to customers’ buying habits. But where I see the future of the system is using the data to inform the kind of shops that people want, challenging traditional ideas of what we think customers want with the reality. Data is essential as we continue to adapt and build our high streets of the future.”
6. No staff training. Another reason for failure of traditional gift card programs is the need to train staff to ask for the card, and how to accept the card. With Mi Rewards, once the customer has joined Mi Rewards and linked their cards, they just pay using their regular payment cards which staff already know how to accept.
7. Prizes that showcase the place. Mi Rewards works on points. Every pound spent at registered local businesses with a linked payment card earns the customer a digital reward point, every 10 points collected in the month means one entry into the town or city’s prize draw. And here’s where it gets interesting, the prizes can be everything from VIP event access to money can’t buy hampers from local producers. Prizes can be tailored to attract different segments of the community, but above all, to showcase the very best of what the area has to offer.
8. Collaboration. Many businesses will have tried a loyalty program before, such as a stamp scheme, perhaps they even have an existing loyalty but Mi Rewards is customer centred, next generation loyalty. Not only can you bring businesses, and the town or city, together behind one loyalty program but the opportunities for cross pollination and coalition loyalty are huge.
9. Works for all customers. All customers can benefit from Mi Rewards, even low volume users have the opportunity to win a prize, with changes to win increasing alongside usage. In traditional loyalty programs, many segments of the community who perhaps spent less would be excluded but with Mi Rewards, the opportunity is there to engage those segments spending less money and less frequently.
10. No discounting for the business. Traditionally in loyalty programs, a business gives a customer additional value or a discount to encourage their loyalty. With Mi Rewards, there is no need for businesses to offer discounts, protecting their profit margins.
11. It’s secure. As Mi Rewards works on a token system, similar to both Apple Pay and Google Pay, Mi Rewards does not need to hold or store customers’ card details, giving customers peace of mind.
12. Promotion for the business. Being a part of Mi Rewards is another way for businesses to market themselves. They are featured on the Mi Rewards website and app, so when customers are searching for businesses where they can earn points, their business will be listed, perhaps encouraging new customers and encouraging repeat visits from existing customers.
13. Reinforcing the shop local message. Every time a customer pays using a registered payment card in a registered business, they receive a thank you message, reinforcing the shop local message.
Alastair Muirhead is the Manager of McCash’s Country Store, part of Perth’s Mi Rewards program:
“McCash’s has been involved with Mi Rewards from the beginning. Sometimes customers will say they’ve got enough loyalty cards and I can reassure them that they don’t need one. They register the cards they use to pay and that’s it. Mi Rewards is fantastic for any business to be a part of because it helps with sales and is backed by technology and skill. McCash’s has been around since 1746 and we want to still be here for years to come doing the same thing, Mi Rewards helps us to do that.”
To find out more about Mi Rewards, please visit www.mi-rewards.com