More and more, globalization has shifted the spending behaviour of consumers. Rather than walking down to a neighbourhood mom-and-pop shop, most go to a chain-store or browse the web when it’s time to make a purchase. Instead of revenue circulating within the community, money spent often leaves the neighbourhood, city, province or country, where it won’t ever be seen again. The idea behind Calgary Dollars is to restore and maintain revenue in the community, strengthening businesses while rewarding customers. Its goal isn’t to get consumers to spend more, but rather to spend differently.
What is Calgary Dollars?
Calgary Dollars is a digital, trackable local currency that encourages local spending within the community. This complementary currency is an alternative tender, valued at a 1:1 ratio to Canadian Dollars. This currency is approved by the CRA and backed by the Victoria Park BIA with federal currency. Though it doesn’t replace federal currency, it can be used to pay for a portion of purchases.
How it works
Calgary Dollars are earned when customers or businesses purchase goods or services from participating businesses in Victoria Park. Residents and frequenters of Victoria Park can partake through an app which allows participants to receive, redeem, and track their Calgary Dollars. Businesses will use the same app to reward customers, accept Calgary Dollars as a tender (in whatever % amount they choose), and redeem at other businesses - just like customers.
Calgary Dollars encourages consumers to buy local, increases customer loyalty to small businesses, and keeps revenue within the community. People are motivated by the opportunity to accumulate rewards, which cycles back to local merchants who can then use the funds in multiple ways–increasing local resiliency and strengthening local business buying power. Calgary Dollars is about promoting and rewarding local spending; it’s about strengthening a community and building meaningful relationships between locals and small businesses - rather than just benefitting a single entity.
Using Calgary Dollars - Consumers
Customers can use earned Calgary Dollars to purchase goods and services from participating local businesses. This means that customers are rewarded for spending and shopping locally at their favourite restaurants and shops! Customers who choose to spend their federal dollars at local businesses will receive Calgary Dollars in return (a percentage of the transaction’s total). They can then use their accumulated Calgary Dollars within the same network of merchants. Every purchase can make a difference–buying local encourages neighbours to follow suit, transforming a community by simply altering everyday actions.
Using Calgary Dollars - Businesses
Like customers, businesses can use earned Calgary Dollars to purchase goods and services from other participating businesses – they can even pay up to 50% of the base City of Calgary business license fee using their Calgary Dollars! Businesses have the flexibility to incorporate the program into promotions, which has an added value of marketing that can be easily measured (e.g. Earn an extra 3 Calgary Dollars when you spend 25 Canadian Dollars on drinks this weekend!). They can also use it as a tool to reward and motivate employees.