Shopping Scheme wins National Town Award



The market town of Haslemere has won the National AMT Award 2006 this week for its outstanding loyalty card project called ‘Haslemere Rewards’ created to attract customers to the area’s predominantly independent shops.

Left to right Nick Paul (Chairman, Advantage West Midlands) , Phil Bates (Chairman,Grayshott Pottery), Janet McWilliam (Project Co-ordinator, The Haslemere Initiative), Iain Lynch (Corporate Services Manager, Waverley Borough Council), Melanie Odell (Chairman, The Haslemere Initiative), Julian Owen ( Chairman, AMT) and Arya Ingvorsen (President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade)

Haslemere’s project directly rewards shoppers for buying locally and has fought off tough competition from 80 other entrants to win a prestigious national award. Announced at this week’s annual Action for Market Towns’ (AMT) convention in Evesham, the scheme has been recognised for its creativity, its innovation, its engagement of the business community and for its significance on a local and national level.

The scheme uses ‘chip’ technology, which allows shoppers to use only one card in the 32 businesses that currently participate. Launched one year ago, the town’s ‘smart card’ loyalty scheme was developed and piloted by the town and its surrounding villages and costs around £5. The Haslemere Rewards card entitles shoppers to benefits in the shape of high discounts or points worth up to 10% from the participating outlets. Jane Scott, a local Fernhurst resident said that she uses her card regularly around Haslemere, though especially in the bookshop, the children’s shop and in the two participating shoe shops, ‘ I have found it to be an excellent scheme. It allows me to use just one card in lots of shops and I love not having to hunt for different cards in my handbag. It makes shopping enjoyable particularly when I get a voucher back or even a discount.’

For the retailer, Haslemere Rewards offers a flexible, tailored and branded scheme for each participating outlet.

Speaking after the announcement Phil Bates of Grayshott Pottery whose business has sold around 1,600 of the 4,500 cards currently in circulation said: “The scheme has enabled us to reward loyal customers and in return customers visit the Pottery on a more regular basis to make more purchases. This builds on that special relationship with customers, which is so important, especially for the smaller town and village retailers who are the life and blood of our local economy.”

Commenting on the effect the card has had on the local economy, Councillor Celia Savage, Waverley’s portfolio holder for the local economy said ‘ We are all brimming with pride! The award highlights what can be achieved by partnership and vision and leadership and innovation. And I am delighted that Waverley’s financial support right from the start has proved to be so beneficial to Haslemere.’

Overwhelmed that the scheme had won against some huge and expensive project contenders, Arya Ingvorsen, President of the District Chamber of Trade said, “We are very honoured to receive this prestigious prize and it is wonderful to have the acknowledgement that our scheme is a great project after all the marvellous effort that has been put in by the businesses.” Chairman of the Haslemere Initiative added, 'This national award says so much about Haslemere and its villages. Very well done to everyone who made it such a success!'

Information about the scheme and its participants can be found by visiting Haslemere or its website

©2006 Grayswood Computer Services. Article written by The Haslemere Initiative.