Consumer needs are constantly evolving in a rapidly changing world. Online shopping is surging forward, while out-of-town shopping centres are also gaining popularity due to their easy accessibility and free parking facilities. The traditional city centre and shopping area are thus being reshaped, as is the future of paid parking. Customer recognition and cooperation are key in developing a sustainable vision.
Parking is a barrier
Every visit to the city centre begins and ends with parking, which is of course not an end in itself. Consumers park in order to go shopping, catch a film, have a bite to eat or do some sightseeing. But the hassle of paying at the parking meter and the cost of paid parking represent a barrier. By lowering this barrier, consumers would not need to go in search of alternatives such as the internet or out-of-town shopping centres.
Everyone is familiar with those long queues at the car park's ticket machine just after the stores have closed. The payment machine accepts only cash, but you have just spent your change at the sidewalk café. And then when it's your turn, you can’t find your ticket.
The use of contactless card readers at the entry and exit points will make these annoyances a thing of the past. Consumers just have to place their debit/credit card or smartphone (e-wallet) against the reader to enter and exit the car park. The appropriate amount will be automatically deducted from their account. So no more lengthy queues or hassle.
The principle behind easy entry/exit and convenient payment for parking is that the customer is recognized by means of a smart card or e-wallet. When the payment card is used for the first time, a ‘token’ is created that is unique to that specific card. As this token does not contain any personal or banking information, there is no violation of the Privacy Act. Anonymous customer recognition, in other words, which will make it possible in future to use a credit card to pre-book a parking space at that convenient and therefore very popular car park.
Linking up markets
Customer recognition offers even greater potential for city centres or shopping areas. Linking not just parking but also retail shops and eateries, for example, to the token can create added value for consumers.
Regular users of a car park could be offered a free cup of coffee at their favourite breakfast spot nearby. Or that new pair of shoes could get you a discount on parking, which will be even higher if you also decide to grab a few groceries at the supermarket in the next street.
Another example is the ability to make online reservations for a table at a restaurant, the latest film at the cinema and of course a parking space nearby, all in one go. Your payment card provides easy access to the car park and you can skip the queues at the cinema box office.
Free parking when buying a concert ticket online, a discount on public transport when parking at a Kiss & Ride, offering a tourist renting a car a discount at certain parking facilities... customer recognition by means of a token offers a world of possibilities.
The potential of customer recognition can only be fully realised if the parking sector joins forces with the retail and food service sectors and (local) authorities to achieve a win-win-win situation. To create these synergies, we need to explore common interests and identify opportunities for cooperation, with technology serving as the catalyst.
Shared loyalty programmes could for example be the next step in linking up markets. An integrated system would allow consumers to register on a website and receive discounts from all participating businesses and organisations when paying with the payment card or e-wallet, thus eliminating the need for separate loyalty cards or collecting stamps. An advantage for both the consumer, the participating businesses and the city centre or shopping area.
About CCV Holland B.V.
CCV applies in-store payment solutions, powerful online solutions and self-service payment terminals throughout Europe. We support our customers in creating an optimal omni-channel shopping experience, so consumers can pay when it suits them, using the payment method of their choice: online, in-store, by card or smartphone.