Home Business NewsBusinessBusiness Growth 89% of workers view returning to the office as a chance to support local businesses

89% of workers view returning to the office as a chance to support local businesses

by LLB Reporter
4th May 22 12:04 pm

With nearly half of UK professionals continuing to work from home, weekday footfall on local high streets is down 30%. Real Business Rescue has surveyed workers to understand how they plan on supporting their high street and how often they will be visiting the office.

The number of independent retail stores is at its highest in five years, as a net 2,157 outlets opened in 2021. But as people continue to work from home in full time or hybrid roles, the high street may never reach pre-pandemic footfall levels again.

The good news is, with over a quarter (29%) of professionals planning to work from the office five days a week, businesses may start to see an increase in footfall. Workers are seeing their return as an opportunity to put money back into the high street, with 89% planning to buy items from independent businesses.

Food outlets and cafes in particular will reap this reward as they fuel professionals, which will be particularly needed as their commute turns up a notch. It seems decent coffee will never be underappreciated by workers, as one in three (30%) plan on buying coffees and treats from their local cafés when they’re back in the office.

Over two fifths (41%) of professionals plan on spending money in shops on their lunch break, and outlets providing consumables like lunch should take this as a key revenue driver. Working hard creates a healthy appetite, as more than a quarter of respondents (27%) plan on buying lunch at least three times a week.

With mouth-watering food on offer around them, in this case, peer pressure will be a positive for nearby outlets, as 25% of workers said they will be encouraging their colleagues to shop locally as well.

Since the research found that, on average, workers plan on going into the office 2.8 days a week, businesses should seize the opportunity to feed hungry and busy professionals. If each customer bought lunch almost three times a week, businesses could expect to increase monthly revenue by £62.37 per customer, and therefore an annual revenue increase of £748.44 per customer.

Supporting the high street isn’t limited to single visits, as almost one in five (19%) workers plan on bulk buying items to enjoy while working at home throughout the week.

For those workers who don’t plan on visiting the office, they are, however, thinking ahead and looking at how they can support businesses from afar.

Outlets that deliver are also a prime target for remote workers, as one in three (30%) will be ordering takeaway food, drinks and produce from local businesses when they work from home.

On average, survey respondents revealed they spend £19.97 a week on various items in local shops (not limited to food). If just one customer spent around £20 each week, local businesses could expect almost a £1,000 increase (£958.71) in revenue per professional.

Commenting on the research, Shaun Barton, National Online Business Operations Director at Real Business Rescue said, “With footfall potentially on the increase and the good weather attracting those eager for retail therapy, there are a number of ways local businesses can encourage hybrid and remote workers to spend their money:

  1. Create an attractive shop front. Let your customers know you’re ready for business. Keeping the front door open creates an inviting, approachable entrance to your store.
  2. Keep the customer journey at the forefront. Think about your customer’s journey from start to finish as soon as they enter your shop. Their experience should be simple, efficient and enjoyable.
  3. Market your goods. Whether you invest in online marketing or use traditional methods such as offering samples to people on the high street, let your brand and quality produce be known.
  4. Provide excellent customer service. Give customers a reason to come back. Provide excellent in-store experience and knowledge, which can build loyalty and trust with prospective consumers.
  5. Contactless payments. Make it easier for your customers to pay, as contactless, cashless payment options are almost expected by consumers as the norm since COVID-19.”

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