The founder and editor-in-chief of a weekly magazine sold by homeless people in London and other cities is behind the launch of a new loyalty card for small businesses recently launched in London.
John Bird and his daughter Diana believe strongly that local businesses should be at the heart of the community. The Wedge Card is designed to help this, and to re-vitalise local communities by offering an affinity scheme to customers using local shops and services. Initially launching in Central London, the aim is to spread across the city in the months to come.
Cardholders are expected pay 20 (approx. US$39) to sign up for one year. Over the coming months, Wedge Traders will be selling the card in their shops, but the card can also be bought online using PayPal.
Encouraging local loyalty
Bird says: "Wedge is going to help those shops that make the community tick by encouraging the public to buy in the local market place. Because it's in the family owned cafes, butchers and bookshops that people get to know one another, and become part of their community. If you don't have a community then you're more likely to be lonely, and you're more likely to be lost."
Charities to benefit
According to a report in the Independent newspaper, Wedge's founders will not accept any shop that has more than ten branches. The seller keeps 5 (approx. US$9.75) and 5 goes to charity. The remaining 10 (approx. US$19.50) goes into the Wedge company, a for-profit business that seeks to build "social enterprise".
In theory, the businesses in any given street will choose a local charity to receive 5% of the card's revenue. But as more and more customers sign up, cardholders will be able to use the card's web site to send the money to any charity they choose.