Smartphone use rise could be unmissable opportunity

A TOWN CENTRE is investigating how it can attract shoppers through technology – after a survey revealed nine in 10 had a smartphone.

Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke (right) and deputy manager Liz Green
Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke (right) and deputy manager Liz Green

Worthing Town Centre Initiative commissioned the shopper survey to find new opportunities for interacting with the public.

It has now commissioned digital marketing agency Fresh Egg to look at ways to take advantage of the technology boom – which could see a town centre app developed.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said traders were aware of the potential opportunities of digital marketing but were ‘baffled’ by the various options.

She said: “90 per cent of people in the town have a smartphone and a further 1.5 per cent are planning to get one, and we don’t do anything to capitalise on that.

“Businesses just don’t know what to do. They know they need to do something but there is so much out there that they are baffled about how to go about it.

“We are trying to get a decision on the best way forward.”

The survey also revealed how social media was playing a significant role in the way residents get information, with 92.5 per cent using Facebook and 39 per cent on Twitter.

A total of 63 per cent used social media as a way of gathering information, way ahead of newspapers (34 per cent) and radio (30 per cent).

The results were of no surprise to Littlehampton town centre regeneration manager John Edjvet.

He said: “Social media is now embedded in how people communicate with each other and for some businesses it does create a genuine sense of community.

“In Littlehampton, we are developing the Shop Littlehampton website, and we are discussing the development of a town centre app at a later stage.”