JUST 16 months after the launch of the ShopLK (Love Shopping Letterkenny) Gift Card, sales have hit €3 million.
Letterkenny Chamber created the ShopLK brand back in 2004 and added the vouchers in 2006. Since then sales have increased year on year as Letterkenny people got behind the initiative. And since moving to the gift card sales have gone from strength to strength.
Gerard McCormick, Chamber President, said, “We moved from the paper based system to the gift cards in December 2015 and in the first few months we had smashed all our previous sales records. We knew from the reaction of businesses and the general public that we were on to a good thing but reaching €3m worth of sales in such a short time is way beyond even our expectations.
“This is by far the most successful town scheme in the country and we are also outstripping shopping centres with similar gift cards. The cards can only be spent in Letterkenny and we know that at least one third of customers using the card almost always spend more than the value of the card itself. This is a huge amount of money to be circulating in Letterkenny. It not only puts money directly into the hands of local businesses but in turn plays its part in supporting local jobs.”
ShopLK Gift Cards are accepted in over 160 outlets ranging from hardware stores to beauty salons. They can be spent on groceries, an oil fill, new tyres, a meal out or even a holiday.
Explaining how it works, Chamber CEO Toni Forrester said, “ShopLK Gift Cards are bought throughout the year by individuals, groups and businesses whose staff have opted to have them instead of cash bonuses. As people are aware many businesses give ShopLK Gift Cards as bonus payments and we have definitely seen these sales increase over the last few years. However, we are seeing new customers from every walk of life, every week as they realise the potential of the card as a gift.”
Letterkenny Chamber makes no money from the sale or redemption of gift cards so every cent brought in through ShopLK is invested back into the promotion of the brand throughout the year.
Acknowledging the support of Donegal County Council, Gerard McCormick added, “The financial support that we have had from the council over the last five years has really enabled us to develop the brand and engage more fully with businesses and consumers. It has allowed us to promote Letterkenny across Donegal and the North West and the introduction of the gift card has brought ShopLK to a whole new level.
“We would also like to thank The Courtyard Shopping Centre that sells our ShopLK Gift Cards direct to the public, having this added visibility has been of immense support to us here in Letterkenny Chamber.”
Letterkenny Chamber said it could not run the initiative without the support of DSP Community Employment programme through which the Chamber is staffed.
“It is the frontline staff in the Chamber that provide the much needed resources throughout the year to make ShopLK such a success and the support of the Department of Social Protection is very much appreciated,” Toni Forrester added.