Data carrier O2 announced today that their ‘Priority Moments’ offers service will be extended to independent retailers and small businesses across the UK, offering a boost to small businesses looking to increase exposure.
The service allows businesses to advertise promotional offers such as discounts or 2-for-1 offers to O2 customers as a free way of marketing their product or service – O2 claims that over a million of its 23 million customers have used the service so far, saving around £8 million. From today, it will be available to independent retailers (not part of a chain or franchise) which have a physical location, such as a shop or outlet, and which sell directly to consumers.
The move will be seen as a much-needed boost to the struggling high street sector, which last year saw an increase in empty premises from 3% to 14.5% and in which over 12% of new small businesses shut down. O2’s own research pinpointed marketing as a particular problem faced by small firms, with over a quarter citing it as one of the business tasks that they most struggle with.
Matthew Hopkinson, director of retail location research firm The Local Data Company, said: "Through our physical walking of over 2,700 locations the Local Data Company tracks over 280,000 independent businesses. Not only do these independent businesses account for 66% of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain but in 2011 they showed positive growth of 2.4% whilst the multiple retailers shrank.
This initiative by O2 gives these businesses the opportunity to harness some exciting technology which will enable them to engage with their customers in a way that many larger businesses already do and thus enable them to compete better in a fiercely competitive market."