How markets can regenerate town centres

Markets are the key to regeneration

How markets can regenerate town centres


The better the central destination of a town centre, the more of a competitive edge it will have over neighbouring town centres. Give people a place to visit, with variety, create a destination for them to experience good food and drink with friends and family, as well as complementary retail outlets. The better the market, the better the performance of the town centre over all. If you’re looking for ways to regenerate your local town centre, then you need to start by looking at a marketing that offers unique stalls, craft food and has the ability to attract footfall. Find out how you can apply this to your local community to support regeneration of your town.

Why markets are the central destination

There has been a rising trend in people eating out later and the demand to try unique beers, gins and other beverages. Promote all of this via your market’s social media pages, demonstrating the experience of an afternoon or early evening eating out, browsing markets for unique gifts, homewares or food items and you have a powerful recipe for success. 

Experiences will drive footfall

Think about the performance and footfall not just the London markets such as Bow, Covent Garden, Borough Market, take a look at Chester, Olney and Ludlow. They each have created a market that brings people to their town centre and encourages spending within the local shops in the vicinity too. By encouraging local producers to sell their produce at a market stall and bringing other unique products and items for people to purchase, these markets have been successful for the town. If you have a centralised area, you can create a destination for foodies with numerous outlets and market stalls, while delivering fresh unique food,. Create a place for locals and weekend tourists to visit and spend time with friends and family and if they enjoy the experience, they will share this. Generate a bustling, lively atmosphere, supported by local producers and people will be keen to visit and find out more. Ride the coat tails of the booming craft drinks industry, brought about by the microbrewery and micro distilling industry boom. People want to find unique products from drink to food. If you can boost the message of buying and supporting local producers and create a warm, inviting atmosphere, you will provide a much needed boost to local businesses and bring vital cash back into the town. 

Craft food and drink is in high demand

Collaboration is key

Real successes will be driven by those market stall independents and high street stores that are able to collaborate and work together by either using collective data and a combination or marketing and promotional activities. This will require the development of a well structured marketing plan, that must include digital marketing alongside a well planned and supported social media strategy involving Facebook and Instagram for lifestyle imagery and conjuring the experiential theatre that will encourage people to visit. 

Use social media 

The independent retail sector is booming, look at Etsy, or Not On The High Street, as well as the growth in social media small businesses that are selling their unique creations, jewellery, homewares and the like. Small business start ups and SMEs don’t want a shop and the overheads that involves. Many of these small businesses are set up to work around childcare and supporting their family (see our blog on supporting parents to start up a business). You could encourage your local businesses to take advantage of empty retail units through pop-up shops, or giving them the opportunity to take a market stall. Support them to collaborate by providing them with networking and engagement opportunities with other market stall holders and with local businesses. The more you can encourage them to collaborate the more likely they will support getting footfall into the town centre which will be a benefit to all businesses. When you combine this collaboration with the power of social media and the ability to promote events, and markets, you see how this contributes to footfall which can in turn drive up retail outlet footfall.


Demand for experiences

As much as digital has been painted to be the scourge of the high street’s performance, there is a changing dynamic of the high street. With once empty premises now filled with pop up shops and pop up restaurants, people are demanding and interested in more unique offerings. Even the behemoth Amazon has invested in bricks and mortar stores with dazzling technology to remove the need for cash desks. This future tech might be too expensive an outlay for other retail independents but people wan to be able to feel their products and enjoy the experience of shopping. Retail outlets can often, as identified above, be too great an outlay for a small business, but a pop up shop or a market stall gives them the opportunity to promote their wares. People are demanding more retail and food outlets, with craft offerings and are turning away from town centres where premises are given over to gyms, estate agents and coffee shops. If you can build a market that embraces these unique offerings, you will help to bring footfall back to the town centre,  which will invest money back into the community.


Future of navigation

The future of cars will be navigation systems that contain parking space availability within their given location. At the moment these are available by apps and available for cities. However as with most technology, in time this will be adopted by navigation systems and will be available for towns, making it easier to plan visits. Shoppers will be able to identify parking spots and be able to plan their shopping trips and social meet ups. By designing a destination area with the right mix of restaurants, outlets, unique pop ups and shops, and a well thought out parking solution, the town centre will attract more visitors.


Training support

So how can you help your local market to be as successful as possible? Not only do you want them to encourage people to recommend them by word of mouth, help them to set up their own social media account to link to yours too. You can offer them training on ways in which to market their business and how to get people to come to their stall. A social account such as Instagram works really well here as it fits with the lifestyle focus of the platform. Share craft, bakery, foot and artisan cuisine while people enjoy themselves and you will help sell the experience to the customer. 

If you are looking for a provider that can help to provide training or support to a local market, get in touch to see what we have been doing with other local authorities. You can also complete a contact form and we shall be in touch.

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