ne of London’s busiest shopping districts is looking to compete against online shopping by encouraging high street spending with its own loyalty app.
LoyalFree App has launched in Marble Arch to entice city workers into offices and help the local economy by offering discounts and deals in pubs, eateries and shops.
Kay Buxton, chief executive of the business improvement district, told the Standard it was the “right time” to launch the scheme – which has proved a hit in other parts of the UK, and is now becoming more commonplace in the capital which did not previously need to over advertise itself.
She said: “It benefits the community by encouraging dwell time and footfall. The timing was key.
“On the back of Covid, we are seeing people work in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“There is a perfect storm of people not coming in and then, because of the cost of living, they are not wanting to spend money. We need to do what we can to help keep outlets alive.
“It seemed the right time. This is the time we should be investing, rolling it out and showing the offers we have. It reflects that we are a very foodie area.”
Independent retailers have signed up alongside big name chains, including Wagamama, Paperchase, Ryman, Le Pain Quotidien, The Pickled Hen, London Grace, The Gate and The Italian Greyhound. Around 80 per cent of the offers at the moment are food related but this is set to change as the app becomes more established.
Ms Buxton said the move to take action was requested by the office owners as a means of finding what can make the area more attractive to employees.
“There are multiple businesses pulling out of the city at the moment,” she continued.
“There is a concern. Businesses moving in have been asking what can be done and suggesting things they can offer in return.”
The area where the app can be used stretches from Park Lane in the south, along Edgware Road, to Paddington Green in the north, taking in Connaught Village to the west and Marylebone to the east. The scheme has launched with 25 live offers and there have been more than 300 redemptions already since it went online on Thursday.
Ms Buxton added: “We need to do something. Other places in London are now adopting similar schemes, you can see it across the country… People are beginning to see it as a solution.”
The LoyalFree App can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play or by visiting www.loyalfree.co.uk
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