The emotional relationship between shopping and the parking experience

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Recently, I visited an out of town shopping centre – a sprawling metropolis of all the well-known (and not so established) retail department stores, shops and boutiques; food halls that accommodate for all food groups and preferences; numerous restaurants; multi-screen cinema etc. – knowing that everything I needed (as well as impulse buys!) would be in there somewhere, under one roof.

It was convenient.

And therein lies the operative word…Convenient.

Whilst it is well reported that online shopping is fast overtaking the retail high street shopping experience for both cost and competition as well as rising overheads, and has been for some time now, the one thing that can’t be overlooked is the ability to look, feel and assess potential purchases in reality, rather than making a virtual judgement call.

Undeniably, this is one of the major draws and USP’s of these Shopping Malls, and something that the online world cannot compete with. However, as Mr Einstein discovered, every force has an equal and opposite force, which in this case is parking : the Achilles Heel of all drive-to Malls throughout the land.

Being able to locate a parking space, and in good time, is an equation that is counterbalanced and directly proportional to the level of stress encountered by the driver. Whilst it is true that early arrivals will have a plethora of spaces to choose from, these quickly get taken and it is left to the vast majority of potential customers throughout the day to meander their way through the car park, often doing multiple passes, just to find that elusive spot.  It is not uncommon for drivers to discreetly follow shoppers leaving the Mall, having given up on trying to find a space on their own, knowing that an exiting customer equals a car about to vacate.


That is assuming, of course, that the customer is not simply making a bag drop to their car, returning to the Mall, in which case the parking nightmare restarts for the motorist. Is it uncommon for customers to spend 15+ minutes searching for the Holy Grail – that 1 space that nobody has spotted? No.

A shift in attitude occurs. Convenient soon turns to Agitation.

The good intentions dissipate, frustration and anger set in which is likely to result in a) not wanting to spend as long as initially anticipated in the Mall, and b) the reluctance to want to return.

Both deleterious to the profitability, growth and perception of the Mall, and businesses within.

However, all this can be prevented using technological advances in parking management systems. We, at Highlight Parking, have developed multiple systems to provide precise, accurate, clear live parking information to drivers, removing the stress, frustration and preconception of this hitherto angst-laden process. It has been proven, in previous installations that we have undertaken, that, as a direct result of our systems, a 20% increase in car turnover occurs, which translates to

  • greater car park efficiency
  • maximised space utilisation
  • improved customer satisfaction

Obviously, for payment car parks, there is an increase in financial turnover too.

This model can be repeated across all industries and sectors. With the battle for the physical retail world only set to intensify against the online world, give you and your customers a fighting chance.

Ease the pain of parking.

Embrace Bay Monitoring and Bay Location technology and what it can achieve for you.

Realise and maximise the full potential of your parking infrastructure – both for customers and turnover.

Make Convenient a Pleasure
Robert Harrison