UK's City of Cambridge launches resident loyalty card
In the United Kingdom, the city of Cambridge is to get its own electronic loyalty card for cooperative use by local shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, thanks to an initiative launched by the Cambridge City Council in conjunction with the Local Secrets online leisure guide.
The new Cambridge Card programme was the result of two years' development and is due for public launch in May 2007. The card provides sponsors and merchants with many of the features of database-driven loyalty programmes, but has been specifically adapted to the needs and of a wide range of retailers in and around the city.
Replacing previous schemes The Cambridge Card will have the advantage of mass support from the start by replacing the approximately 15,000 city Leisure Cards, a pre-existing discount card that is already in circulation for the city's residents.
As a loyalty card, the Cambridge Card is free to consumers, with its distribution be achieved via widespread special promotions throughout the city. For those who miss the promotional period, the cards can also be purchased online for a £1.95 handling fee (approx. US$3.80).
Distribution of the card will be aimed initially at local consumers, and will be supported by a number of participating retail outlets, major local employers, and clubs and associations that derive promotional and fund raising benefits from taking part.
Residents card twist But there's unique regional twist to the programme: When the card is upgraded with a "validation sticker" (costing between £2.20 and £9.50 for city residents, or between £15 and £30 for non-residents) the card also serves as the city's Resident Card and gives the cardholder between 20% and 50% off ticket prices (depending on the amount paid for the validation sticker) for the city's swimming pools, sports facilities, and money off at colleges and punting trips.
The programme's aim is to bring in more trade for local businesses at off-peak times, to encourage customers to consolidate their spending, and to increase consumer focus on high-profit goods and services. The system works with a remote database linked to a stand-alone terminal or PC at the merchant's point of sale, and is part of a larger package of local-use consumer cards that will be added over the coming months.