Retailers Networking meeting

25 businesses attended the recent Lowestoft retailers networking meeting which was held at Beales department store on Wednesday 9th March 2016.

The meetings take place as part of the Healthy High Streets campaign and is hosted by M&S Store Manager Mark Leftley.

The main discussion point for the meeting was car parking in the town and the impact that the proposed changes could have to footfall and customer spend.

Lowestoft Vision had previously discussed the matter with Waveney District Council. The council have provided clear details that parking charges will go up in April. Waveney have explained in detail to Lowestoft Vision the reason for this and that they feel they have no other options.

Lowestoft Vision BID Manager Darren Newman explained that to tackle the cost of car parking businesses would need to develop a scheme which could be proposed to the council.

As part of the networking meeting the group discussed a range of issues around parking and possible schemes which could be introduced.

1) Refund voucher scheme
Businesses would agree to refund the customers first hour parking if they spent over £10 in store.
This scheme has previously been used in the town but very few businesses signed up. It was agreed that for this to be a success at least 40 businesses would need to take part.
After discussions businesses felt that the scheme would not work as it was not convenient for the customer.

2) Parking reward scheme
Lowestoft Vision along with possible sponsors could purchase a number of 1 hour parking passes. Businesses could then use these as rewards for customers and offer free parking for an hour for their return visit.As a town we would need to choose a day which the vouchers could be used.

After discussion it was agreed the scheme was too complicated and again did not offer convenience to the customer.

In the discussion Lowestoft Vision said it would look at other possible options, however businesses felt that more effort should be focussed on making the town more attractive.

Possible projects on making the town more attractive could include
- Town clean
- Window dressing training
- Display information
- Customer service training.

It was agreed that the theme of the next meeting would be improving the look of the town.

The next Town centre retailers meeting will take place on Wednesday 13th April 8am – 9am at Sams Coffee house in Bevan Street.

Businesses were asked to bring along another business with them to the next meeting.

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