Can we #SaveTheHighStreet with free parking and Wi-Fi?
New research by XLN, showing that 9 in 10 Britons would visit the high streets more often if free parking were offered – and that 8 in 10 would do the same for free Wi-Fi – has been doing the rounds among online small business portals.
One of the biggest venues for news and advice about small businesses, Smallbusiness.co.uk, picked up the story, as did LondonLovesBusiness. Both quoted Diane Wehrle - the marketing and insights director at Springboard who conducted much of the research - who observes that a catastrophic mix of high parking fees and interminable traffic has resulted in depressed commerce in Britain’s urban centres.
Members of the public also decried expensive parking in the inner city, claiming it “kills” towns and encourages shoppers to use retail parks dominated by large franchises – in no small part because of the free and available parking.
The Wi-Fi element of the research was picked up by Business Matter Magazine, running with the headline “82% of Brits more likely to visit local businesses if free Wi-Fi was offered”. The article quotes data showing that XLN’s 1 million registered users spend 25 million minutes a month using their service, and increasing their use by 32 percent over 6 months.
XLN CEO, Christian Nelleman, has been keen to point out that this means that XLN’s Wi-Fi is directly contributing to users spending more time in independent business venues, and has issued a 5-point manifesto detailing his recommendations to save high street retail in the UK.