Letterkenny Chamber created the ShopLK initiative in 2004 to keep people shopping in the town. It has been so successful, other towns should take note.
ShopLK, ‘Love Shopping Letterkenny’, an initiative to promote local shopping by using gift cards brought €1.5m in sales into the town in just three months.
“Christmas 2017 sales increased by 16% with over 9,300 cards sold between November and January which led to €1,553,574 going into the local economy.”
ShopLK gift cards are now accepted in over 190 outlets across Letterkenny with more to follow.
Letterkenny as a retail destination
The ShopLK idea came about to promote Letterkenny as a retail destination, rather than just the commercial hub of the county. The initiative has been able to grow thanks to financial support from Donegal County Council.
Letterkenny Chamber says it makes no money from the sale or redemption of gift cards so every cent brought in through ShopLK is invested back into the promotion of the service.
“This is by far the most successful town scheme in the country and we are also outstripping shopping centres with similar gift cards,” says Leonard Watson, president of the Letterkenny Chamber. “We are always thankful all the outlets that support us. We know from our customers that they love the variety. They can get grocery shopping, petrol for the family car or spend the money on a treat, the choice is endless.”
“One-third of customers using the card almost always spend more than the value of the card itself.”
“The cards can only be spent in Letterkenny and we know that at least one-third of customers using the card almost always spend more than the value of the card itself. This is a huge amount of money to be circulating in Letterkenny. It not only puts money directly into the hands of local businesses but in turn plays its part in supporting local jobs,” says Watson.
Should more Irish towns have an initiative like this?