Bedford bucking national trend for visitors to town centre


Bedford town centre is bucking the national trend for visitors - proving it’s a great place to shop and eat.

That’s according to a BedfordBID Business Breakfast which reported the findings from a fact file on town centre foot fall.

1,000 visitors were professionally polled in July (300 in Harpur Centre, 700 on-street locations) on their demographics and spending habits, as well as their views of businesses and how likely they would be a recommend the town to friends and family.

“This is important information to help us to understand who our customers are and how they could be persuaded to spend more and bring their friends,” said Christina Rows, Bedford Business Improvement District (BID) director.

“Bedford bucks the national trend for the number of visitors by footfall time and time again, especially when there are fun events going on like the Love Bedford Sunday.

“We know that people like positive news stories about the town and they read these in the local press, but critically of course the younger audience are more influenced by social media. Our Instagram-led video campaign over the summer has been in response to that - the messages are the same: Bedford’s a great place to shop and eat.

“Our website is by far the best read consumer platform for the town with daily updates and offers.”

Conducted by Shopper Anonymous, the Net Promoter Survey will be carried out again in December by which time the impact of Riverside Bedford and Rushden Lakes may be evident. Bedford Business Improvement District (BID) is the ONLY market town to have undertaken this type of survey, which is normally used by big brands like John Lewis.

In addition, the successful Customer Service campaign run last year is being repeated. 30 BID businesses can have a free training day and then follow up secret shopper visits to give feedback.

“We know that this impacts on the visitor experience and raises the bar for customer service in the town overall,” said Christina.