What do we want to achieve with our new currency?
I assume we want to support local businesses, restaurants and trading activities by encouraging local consumers to use them in preference to major chains and multi nationals. There are other ways to achieve this, including discount and loyalty schemes. The advantage of a modern loyalty/discount scheme,using smartphone apps, is that the businesses can communicate with their loyal customers, and reward them according to the level of their custom.
I suggest that businesses in Kingston could participate in a common loyalty scheme using QR (Quick Response) codes displayed on their premises. Visitors would use their smartphone to snap the QR code which would log their presence at that particular place and time, saved to an online database. This would permit the loyalty scheme to be both Kingston wide but also able to be used by individual businesses.
The reason big supermarkets have their loyalty cards is not just to let their customers to come back to earn more points, it is to track their spending and send them emails with special offers and so on. Small businesses can make use of a local loyalty scheme to fight back, since they will have access to their local users. A currency is essentially anonymous, and perhaps some people would prefer this, but it is not the only way to go.
— Original blog post written by John —
Update – following some more research it was decided to focus the projects efforts on building ‘tagged’ currency for the borough. This essentially means that the money spent through the K£ project is ‘tagged’ sterling. Simply put, we take a normal pound and mark it only to be spent in the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.