The competition follows a survey conducted by the insurance broker for small and medium sized businesses, which reveals that familiarity (39%), supporting local businesses (39%) and the selection of quirky and unique shops (22%) are the top reasons why people visit their local high street.

Free parking (37%) would encourage UK shoppers to visit their local high street more often.

SME Insurance Services (smei) - a provider of business insurance for high street businesses including shops, hair and beauty salons, pubs, takeaways, restaurants, and hotels - launches a search for the UK's ‘high street heroes'; a competition to find business owners who can win a starring role in the insurance broker's next online adverts.

The search for ‘high street heroes' coincides with a survey conducted by smei, which explores the nation's shopping habits.

Questioning 2,000 UK consumers, Greater London was named as the region with some of the best local High streets followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (14%), while the five key features of a great high street experience were discovered to be:

1.            A good selection of products and services (52%)

2.           Being able to find what you're looking for (49%)

3.           Friendly people (47%)

4.           Great customer service (47%)

5.           Value for money (45%)

The study reveals that shoppers would be inclined to visit their local high street more often if parking was free (37%). When questioned on their top three reasons for visiting their local high street, shoppers agreed it also was down to familiarity, supporting local businesses and the access to quirky or unique shops.

However, it's the people that run their own businesses that help define a great high street experience, with 47% of consumers agreeing that friendly people make a difference.

Katie Aston, head of smei, said: "Working with small, medium and independent high street business owners every day, we hear so many inspirational and individual stories about why they started their businesses. We recognised that these stories are rarely ever told, but the people behind them are actually what make the great independent businesses on our UK high streets stand out.

"We commissioned a research survey to explore consumer attitudes towards the UK's independent high street businesses, which demonstrates how customer service along with unique products and services are high on customers' lists when it comes to choosing where to visit.  

"Our high street heroes competition is an opportunity to give small and medium independent business owners a platform to share what makes them special and why they love what they do, while encouraging the nation to support their local high street."

smei's "high street heroes" competition is open until 5:00pm GMT on Friday 14th September 2018. Full details, including prizes and terms and conditions can be found here.

View the full study findings here. For further information about SME Insurance Services, visit: