Consumer Trends in ParkingIt’s important to understand consumer trends and how they relate to parking. Everything in life today seems to be getting easier for people.  If you have a question, you just ask Alexa.  If you’re going to the movies, you reserve your seats ahead of time. Forget hailing a cab on the street, just open the Uber or Lyft app and a car will be there in a few minutes. You can now order Starbucks on your mobile device without having to wait in line.

Consumer Trends: Convenience and Impatience

The key consumer trends to understand are all about convenience and impatience. People don’t want to wait anymore.  According to Lisa Gevelber, VP, Marketing for the Americas at Google, “Mobile searches related to “same-day shipping” have grown over 120% since 2015 as people are no longer willing to wait even a few days for their order to arrive. We can also see that searches for “same-day shipping” peak first thing in the morning. Rather than running an errand on the way to work, people are turning to their devices with the expectation that they can find a business that can help them immediately.” (Source: Google)

According to Forrester Research, 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service (Source: Conversocial). For the people who work in the parking industry, it is critical to understand these consumer trends because they have major implications for your business.

Consumers are no longer willing to tolerate poor experiences.

People want ease and convenience.  They want to get in and out of your lot as quickly as possible without any hassle.  If you can’t provide that level of service, they will probably look for another parking provider who can.  Or they’ll just take Uber rather than deal with parking. And that is going to cost you money.

If you think about your parking operation, you have to make sure you are you doing everything you can to create a positive consumer experience at your lot.  Here are some key questions you should be asking yourself.

  • Is it easy for people to get into my lot?

  • Is it easy for people to find a spot?

  • Do people drive into the lot and then have to leave because there are no spots available?

  • Do people have to wait in a long line at a kiosk to pay for parking?

  • Are people able to pay using the method they prefer – cash, Visa, American Express, etc.?

  • Are people able people to pay for parking with an app?

  • Are people able to reserve parking in your lot ahead of time?

  • Are people able to contact your customer service team if there are issues?

If answer to many of these questions is “no”, you are probably not providing consumers with a great experience at your lot.  Fortunately, there are technology solutions out there today that can help in these areas.

One good example is implementing a mobile app for payments.  This makes it much easier for consumers pay for parking right on their phone and creates a good experience at your lot.  It can also reduce the cost of hardware and people. Creating a win-win for the consumer and the parking operator.

77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service (Source: Conversocial).

One high-end mixed use shopping center in the Atlanta area allows people to pay at a kiosk or with the a mobile app.  About 60% of the people who park at this facility use the app rather than the kiosk.  Why? Because it’s a better experience.  Rather than wait in line at a kiosk, get a ticket and run back to your car to leave it in the dashboard, people simply tap a few buttons on in the app and they’re all set.  If they end up needing more parking time, they don’t have to run back to the kiosk, they just tap “extend time” in the app.

So if you are a parking provider, you need to think more about consumer trends.  You are not just selling a parking spot, you are providing an experience. And if it’s a good one, the consumers will keep coming back.