As with any large business, evidence-based decision making is essential for towns and cities. 

Through a localised chatbot, thousands of people offered their opinions to give BIDs the information they need to invest in evidence-based planning.

By reaching out on social media via a chatbot, Maybe* gathered over 24,000 relevant points of evidence. This data was compiled nationally and then broken down for each city or town, allowing a benchmarking of responses that had otherwise been unavailable. 

What we learnt

The chatbot asked a series of questions relating to what people love about their city, where they would like to see improvement, what would make them more engaged in their community, what each location could do to support young people, and more.

The insights for each town are built into the Maybe* platform, allowing each town or city to share the results as they develop, encouraging further discussions online.

Asking consumers directly how they would improve their local high streets highlighted a need for better or more diverse shops (35%), followed closely by a requirement for increasing the quality, price, and availability of parking (21%).

When asked what was missing from their high streets, the runaway insight is the need to offer more activities for youth (33%). Following this is a desire for more family activities (22%).

Interestingly, when asked what they would suggest for activities to engage youth, the recommendations were clear:

  • 22% said affordable shops

  • 19% said more trendy shops

  • 14% said more youth-focused activities

  • 10% said to focus on nighttime activities for teens

  • And 9% said to offer more creative spaces… Instagram anyone?

Consumers were clear in their recommendations from where they want their BIDs to invest any future windfalls (supporting local shops - 45%), to what would inspire them to become more involved in their community (more local events - 25%). 

They were also clear in their impressions of their communities. We asked about shop vacancy rates (24% of people asked said they felt that 10-15% of their local shops are currently vacant), and the mix of independent vs chain shops (30% vs 68%). 

Access the full report

To learn more about how consumers think high streets can be improved, or to learn how to utilise a chatbot to gain insights for your own business, you can download the full report.  

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