AN update to the Chester Gift Card means customers can now spend their gift cards online with a number of city centre businesses, as well as in person, making it even easier to support local businesses this Christmas.
Of the 120-plus businesses who are part of the Chester Gift Card, 19 of these merchants now also accept the Chester Gift Card as payment through their own websites.
The Chester Gift Card is a prepaid Mastercard, allowing customers to enter the card details when shopping with the online enabled gift card businesses, with the balance automatically deducted from the card.
The businesses which accept the Chester Gift Card both in store and online are: Alison Bradley Gallery, Chester Boat, Chester Model Centre, Chester Boutique, Chester Visitor Information Centre, Jaunty Goat, Lee Louise, Leonidas Chester, Lowe & Sons, Nichols & Co, Pictura Studios, Powells Vintage Jewellery, Pyramid Glass, Storyhouse, That Beer Place, Up North Records, Powells Fine Jewellery, Watergate Street Gallery and Weasel and the Bug.
Dawn Robinson is the owner of Chester Boutique and said: “Chester Boutique has been open in Chester for around 10 years now.
“When we locked down in March 2020, we took sales through Facebook but eventually developed our own website and went online with it in August 2020.
“Even though the website is doing incredibly well, our Bridge Street store is too, and I think it’s great to have that mix of both. Some people are happy to shop online, and others prefer to come into the boutique where they can see the clothes and receive personal advice.
“The Chester Gift Card is a fabulous idea because it keeps money in the city, and supports all kinds of businesses, especially independents. Chester has always been known for its independents.
“With the update to the Chester Gift Card, customers have choice in how they spend their gift card, in store or on our website in the same way as a credit card. And as well as keeping money in the city, it can bring new money in too.
“You can buy a Chester Gift Card for a friend that lives elsewhere, and they get to experience a bit of Chester either in person, or using the card online.
“We’ve got lots of beautiful items for Christmas both online and in the boutique, like jewellery, our new perfumed oils range, accessories like gloves and scarves.
“Party wear is really popular this year, the sequinned items starting flying off the shelves in September.
“People can’t wait to get out enjoying themselves and we look forward to welcoming them to Chester Boutique to get them kitted out for the festive season with their Chester Gift Card.”
The Chester Gift Card can be spent with a variety of business types in the city, including restaurants, shops, cafés, attractions and salons, and launched in November 2020 as part of Chester Business Improvement District’s (BID) battleplan to support high street shops from the effects of lockdown.
Another business which accepts the Chester Gift Card both in person and online via their own website is Pyramid Glass on Werburgh Street.
Saso Taneski is the owner of Pyramid Glass and said: “Pyramid Designer Glassware was established in Chester in 1997 and is recognised as the country’s leading independent retailer for Scandinavian glass.
“Currently, we have a wonderful Christmas collection that is adding a warm and welcoming festive feel to our special pieces that people can treasure for years to come.
“The ever-changing high street environment, and in particular, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, have created extremely challenging times for all retail businesses.
“However, we have managed to navigate through these turbulent times and are extremely proud that this truly independent and family run business is still standing firmly in Chester, as well as maintaining and developing our hard working and dedicated team.
“The Chester Gift Card has been a very welcome initiative, extending the support for local businesses that have been in Chester for many, many years.
“Though we pride ourselves on providing a great in store experience and a personal customer service, the introduction of the Chester Gift Card for online purchases, makes the scheme even more accessible for customers that may prefer online shopping or the click and collect service.
“It is always hugely appreciated when people shop locally, showing they care about the local businesses makes all the difference of why people like, live in or visit Chester.”
Emily Ghazarian from Chester BID said: “It’s now easier than ever to spend your Chester Gift Card with city centre businesses this Christmas.
“There is a list of local online businesses at http://chestergiftcard.com/, follow the link to the business website, make your selections, then enter the long card number from your Chester Gift Card, along with the expiry date and CVV number which you’ll find above the QR code on the back of the card.
“That’s it, and your payment will be processed like any other card payment.
“We’re thrilled to be making shopping in Chester city centre more accessible with our gift card upgrade.”
The Chester Gift Card is part of the award-winning Town and City Gift Cards programme from fintech Miconex.
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said: “Industry data shows that in-store redemption is still the most popular way to spend gift cards but online redemption is becoming much more popular, particularly in the pandemic with less travel and more people shopping from home.
“The Chester Gift Card gives people choice in how they spend their gift card, and makes it an attractive gift for the festive season and beyond.”