Stores that do not have free, plentiful and easy parking are missing out on extra footfall, according to a new consumer survey.

The results echo the findings of the ACS’ 2017 Community Barometer report that found free parking was the top way customers said councils could help local shops.

The new research by SME Insurance Services found more than two in five customers would be more likely to visit a shop if parking was available for free, and more than a quarter of people said parking needed to be “less stressful” in order to get them through the doors.

Richard Dunderdale, co-owner of Mierscourt Farm General Store & Off Licence in Kent told Retail Express that plentiful parking outside the store meant the it is accessible for tradespeople in larger vehicles and encourages impulse visits.

Other common consumer comments were more in line with retailer staple subjects such as ranging, availability and pricing.

Customers also revealed their worst shopping habits. Putting items back in the wrong place was the most common retail sin, with 40% of consumers owning up to it. More than 30% said they nip back for other items when already at the till and a quarter of people said they talk on the phone while at the till.