Can a joint bonus card promote local retail in the Ammersee region? This question was discussed in an online meeting of the Local Action Group (LAG) Ammersee in the LEADER funding program. Specifically, it was about one from the company Trolley maker developed Ammersee Card.
Trolleymaker GmbH (https://www.trolleymaker.com/) has already designed similar bonus cards for other municipalities and regions. In the meeting, managing director Dieter Deninger presented the concept based on the city of Schwabach (https://schwabachcard.de/). With 40,000 inhabitants, it is about the same size as the Ammersee region.
Do you need it?
Fortunately, we currently have a well-functioning retail business in the region. In Schondorf, it is really fun to stroll through the town and see what beautiful things can be bought here. That goes from elegant fashion to noble brands, from living accessories to vintage furniture, and from hand-made ceramics to chic skis.
So we are still well positioned, but in general, times will certainly be more difficult and not easier for small retailers. Even if the current Covid crisis is survived (is this what the future looks like?), The competition from large shopping centers and online retail will continue to grow. It can’t hurt to think about how to improve customer loyalty in good time.
The Ammersee Card
This is exactly what the Ammersee Card is supposed to do, to improve customer loyalty. At the participating shops and handicraft businesses, an individual bonus amount is credited to the card for each purchase. These credits can then be used for payment at other participating companies. Apparently the Ammersee Card can also be used as an “employee card”. I am not a tax specialist, but employers can book up to € 44 per month as a tax-free allowance in kind on the card.
Opportunities and hurdles
I definitely see the chances of such an Ammersee Card. But I also see a general problem with the introduction. The Schwabach Card presented in the presentation is backed by a strong retail association. It can convince the members together and then has the budget for a professional launch campaign. We don’t have that at Ammersee. Each community cooks its own soup here. Here you have to look beyond your own church tower.
One thing is clear: Such an Ammersee Card depends on the fact that enough businesses participate from the start. If I have to look for the participating retailers with a magnifying glass, then the bonus card is of no interest to me as a customer. So I would really like to hear the opinion of traders: Would you take part in the Ammersee Card?