After a shocking year for retail during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Goulburn Chamber of Commerce, Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Regional Development Australia Southern Inland are launching a gift card to encourage more people to shop locally.
Purchasers will be able to top-up the ‘Shop 2580’ gift cards with $10 to $1000, which can be spent in stores in Goulburn and the nearby town of Marulan.
The cards will be available to purchase in eight retail stores, called ‘load-up stores’, located on and off Goulburn’s main street, and users will be able to share the love by spending the amount on their card in more than one store.
Goulburn Chamber of Commerce president Darrell Weekes said retail has been the hardest hit industry in Goulburn during the pandemic.
“This is a way to help those businesses recover,” he said. “There will be a direct commercial benefit to the businesses that participate because if you’ve got a gift card, you’re going to go to the stores that accept it as opposed to the stores that don’t.
“So far we have 90 stores lined up for the initiative.”
The organisers will be visiting stores to let the owners know about the gift cards ahead of their release at Easter.
Regional Development Australia Southern Inland CEO Carisa Wells said the gift cards have already been successfully launched in Cooma and Bombala in the NSW Snowy Mountains region.
“COVID-19 has made us aware of the importance of shopping locally, and this card is a real initiative to influence our local community members to do that more effectively,” she said.
“And we’re not reinventing the wheel here, we’re just picking up an initiative that’s really successful in other areas and bringing it to Goulburn.”
Every $100 spent locally is estimated to have a local impact of about $180.
Across Australia, 132,000 of these gift cards carrying more than $10 million have been sold to date, and $1.3 million of that money was loaded onto the cards in December 2020 alone.
The ‘Shop 2580’ gift cards will be available for the next three years, and the organisers have chosen to launch them at Easter to encourage their uptake well ahead of Christmas 2021.
“We wanted to launch the card early in the year so it’s really well known by Christmas,” said Ms Wells. “And the reason we went with three years was to give us time to market and develop it.”
Businesses only need an EFTPOS machine to accept the cards and there will be no cost to businesses when shoppers use the cards aside from their usual bank transaction fees.
However, there is a small catch: businesses will need to pay $120 to join the program if they’re not members of the Goulburn Chamber of Commerce, and the cards also won’t work online.
However, the organisers remain optimistic, with the business chamber and council already investing 50 per cent each to cover the initial program costs, while Regional Development Australia Southern Inland has shared resources to bring the program to life.
These organisations say the gift cards will be a great option for friends, relatives and employees looking for a local present.
“Big businesses will be able to reward employees with these cards, and businesses can run a promotion with the gift cards that still encourages people to shop locally,” said Mr Weekes.
Mayor Kirk: “We hope that instead of buying a gift for your family or friends online, you may instead choose to buy a ‘Shop 2580’ card that will support local businesses.”
To register a business to participate, click here.