A scheme to promote town centre trading and boost local economies will be piloted in Wigan this autumn and rolled out if successful.
HometownPlus is designed to “get more people to visit their hometown more often and spend more money locally” by enabling consumers, using a smartcard or phone app, to access personalised offers and savings.
Retailers and other participants in the WiganPlus debut project, such as public transport firm Arriva and public sector organisations, will benefit from the opportunity to drive footfall, target promotions and access real-time shopping data.
It is being launched by a partnership between Insite Asset Management, public transport experts DHC and creative firm Drumbeat. It will also receive £230,000 Government match-funding and comes in the wake of increased concern about the appeal of town centres.
Voids in town centres stand at 12% according to The Local Data Company and in Lincolnshire, Marks & Spencer’s decision to shut three of its stores has prompted an outcry locally.
HometownPlus director Nigel Poad, a former head of property acquisitions at Debenhams and more recently leasing director at now-defunct property developer Modus, said he was contacting retailers in Wigan to sign them up. Independent stores are likely to be the first on board and it is hoped multiples will be keen to join.
Poad said the scheme would complement, not compete with, retailer loyalty programmes such as Boots’ Advantage card.