Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Traders launch loyalty card in bid to increase custom

BUSINESSES in Benson are trying to encourage more trade with the launch of a customer loyalty

BUSINESSES in Benson are trying to encourage more trade with the launch of a customer loyalty card.

The card, called the Benson Bonus, will offer rewards to people who shop regularly in the village.

Six independent retailers are taking part in the scheme — card and gift shop Derry’s Den, Chiltern Florist and Produce, gift and furniture store Revival, Benson Butchers, Chapel Lane Hair and Beauty and Classic Beauty.

Sue Hill, who runs Derry’s Den in High Street, said: “Local shops could always do with more business, couldn’t they?

“A few of us got together because we’re all worrying about trade. It’s always a struggle when you’re a small business to get and keep trade, especially in times when people are worried about the pennies. We have to compete with the internet these days.”  

Mrs Hill said parking in the village was not good enough and that this could make people choose to shop elsewhere.

“We thought ‘we’re going to do something about this’,” she said.

“We came up with this Benson Bonus card which all the participating shops are going to give out and do different special offers and discounts.

“We’re hoping at least the independents are going to be offering this loyalty scheme to try to encourage people to shop locally rather than going to Oxford, Reading, Wallingford or Henley.

“We’ll all have a little supply of the cards and when a customer comes in we’ll issue them. If they show it at any of the shops they get the offers.”

Mrs Hill, who has run Derry’s Den for 18 years, added: “Benson is quite a good community village and people tend to be quite loyal but perhaps we need to give them a bit of an incentive.”

James Grundonner, co-owner of Chiltern Florist and Produce, said: “We want to encourage trade to stay in Benson and to keep the village alive. It would be a shame to lose what we have got.

“Benson is quite rare because most villages don’t have five or six different shops.

“This is encouraging people who don’t use us to try us and for those that do it gives them a reward for shopping and staying local.

“The village has been quiet and we decided we needed to do something to make sure people know where we are and that if they want to keep their village they’ve got to use it.”

Caitlin Moore, a beauty therapist at Chapel Lane Hair and Beauty, said the business would offer a different discount each week.

“I think it will help,” she said. “We’re doing well at the minute but it would be nice to do more.” Christopher Hatch, acting manager of Benson Butchers, said: “In the last couple of years trade has fallen off mainly because of the supermarkets.

“Saying that, I think people get into a rut of going to the same shop every time. It’s much nicer to have fresh meat that hasn’t been packed up for six days before you put it in your fridge.

“I suggested a discount card years ago when I was manager of the butchers. It’s about getting local people to come in and understand that if it’s not supported it will be another empty shop.”

Janet Sharp, who runs Revival in the High Street, said: “I think there has been a drop in footfall probably because people want to get everything under one roof and because of internet shopping.

“We’re trying to make people think that maybe it’s not necessary to go to Reading or Oxford — there are lots of things you can buy here. If you have got a card you might think twice about going further.”

Mrs Sharp will be offering discounts on painted furniture.

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