Launched in 2013, the council-backed Telford Loyalty Card (TLC) offers discounts at leisure venues and other retailers.
But a report for the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership, an organisation which aims to grow the economy of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, says market research found it had “low visibility”.
A replacement app is provisionally due to be tested next month, with a relaunch due in the spring.
The report, updating LEP board members on the user of Telford’s Marches Investment Fund allocation, says Shrewsbury-based marketing firm Yarrington was appointed “to undertake a two-stage commission leading to the development of a Telford app that will support primarily high-street businesses badly hit by Covid and, previously, in the case of Ironbridge, by flooding”.
Stage one has been completed, it adds, saying the consultants have “considered products on the market that might be suitable for licence”, “assessed the benefits of a bespoke new product” and presented their findings to the project team, council members and the Telford Business Board’s Digital Sector Champion.
“In terms of the existing TLC, they found it is in wide circulation with over 16,000 users/holders, which is a valuable asset,” the report says.
“However, it has very low levels of activity from businesses and card/app holders.
“It has low visibility in any of the borough towns. Its features and functionality are out of date and the card is not fulfilling users’ or businesses’ requirements.”
Yarrington’s research “didn’t find any existing app product that would meet the needs of Telford’s smaller businesses”, the report adds.
“Their recommendation is for a new, bespoke app product entirely for business that capitalises on the trusted TLC brand and the 16,000 users already registered but is redesigned completely in terms of look and functionality.”
The new app, they say, should provide “improved data and metrics for businesses and Telford and Wrekin Council to support high street regeneration” and automatically migrate users from the old app.
“The next step is to start the design and build of the app with a view to having a working prototype by the middle to end of December,” the report says.
“Following testing with a panel of selected high-street businesses, it is aimed to get the app live in January or February so it is ready for the build-up to Easter.
“A significant marketing campaign will have to be designed around this new product to take it out to business with a programme of assistance and a vibrant campaign to promote it to residents and visitors.”
The report says the commissioning process has cost £6,800 so far, with further costs for completion, marketing and roll-out anticipated in the new year.
LEP chief executive Gill Hamer, along with a representative of Telford and Wrekin Council, will present the report to the board when it meets remotely on Tuesday, November 24.