Closed your bakery for now? Talk to your customers about Local Support Vouchers
A new initiative empowering members of the public to support much-loved local businesses and NHS staff has launched today.
Local Support Vouchers aims to help independent bakeries, cafes, restaurants and shops across the UK stay afloat during the pandemic by enabling people to buy vouchers or pledge support for their favourite local businesses, to keep them going until they can re-open.
Thousands of small businesses don’t have the systems in place to offer vouchers. Local Support Vouchers makes it easy for businesses to offer vouchers to customers, helping them secure a vital source of revenue whilst their doors are closed. Customers can buy them for themselves, gift to a friend, or ‘pay it forward’ to local NHS workers.
Customers can also pledge their support for a favourite business that isn’t yet signed up to the platform, by searching for them on the platform and committing to buy a voucher from them once they register. Local Support Vouchers will contact the business to let them know that funds have been pledged; and once they’re signed up, customers will be notified so they can complete their voucher purchase and help that business stay afloat. Users can also show their support and solidarity by nominating their favourite business via an online form, to encourage them to sign up.
The idea for Local Support Vouchers came from Chris Giddins, the founder of B2B voucher tech platform, Uniqodo. Working mainly with travel clients, Chris’ business has been hard hit by the crisis. But, instead of despairing, Chris and his team decided to put their expertise and spare time to good use by creating a simple way for businesses to offer vouchers to their regulars.
Chris comments: “The early days of this crisis saw many of us encouraged to ‘buy vouchers’ for the businesses we knew to be struggling. But for most independent shops or restaurants, it’s not that simple. Setting up the processes and payment systems for vouchers is actually quite technical; beyond the current capabilities of most small businesses who have a lot to deal with right now. As a company, we’re struggling too, but we didn’t want to sit idly by and do nothing. The tech expertise of my team meant we could help these businesses and support the NHS at the same time. ”
Any UK business can sign up for free, allowing customers to purchase gift vouchers for themselves or loved ones. Shoppers also have the option of donating vouchers to local NHS staff. Vouchers can be redeemed when businesses re-open and the NHS donations will be kept ‘on tab’ by each business for healthcare staff to use when they can.
Local Support Vouchers charge a small processing fee of 3% per voucher to cover the running costs of the site. Go to www.localsupportvouchers.com to find out more.