Brick-and-mortar businesses across numerous sectors have been ravaged severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many establishments had to close shop in the wake of lockdown announcements, and those that remained open were forced to concentrate on click-and-deliver services.
Now that the end is in sight, entrepreneurs are eager to get their stores and restaurants going again. However, according to recent market studies, the Coronavirus has permanently altered customer preferences and shopping habits. Just because your shop is open does not mean you will experience the influx of buyers you enjoyed before the pandemic. It will take a lot more to convince your customers to visit.
So, if your parking system had gaps before, now is the time to address them. Customers will be more inclined to come if they know parking their vehicles will not be a headache.
Why is parking so important?
Any business owner with a physical establishment knows the first rule to success is location. However, one of the most overlooked considerations when choosing the right spot is parking. Although your site may tick boxes like being close to your target market and having few competitors, buyers will avoid you if you have poor or crowded parking. After all, people would rather drive to the next shop than waste time circling for a spot.
Your location may not be something you can change easily, especially if you have a lease and lack the money to invest in a new store. Fortunately, you do not have to relocate to solve your parking problems.
Traditional parking management has failed
Parking management means developing and enforcing parking policies and programs that uphold the efficient use of parking resources. According to research, the right management approach can reduce parking requirements by as much as 40%, translating to more fluid vehicle turnover and better customer experience.
Managing a parking lot can be as simple as putting up direction arrows and “two-hour limit” signs. However, not all customers take such measures seriously. Even if you state the threat of towing their vehicle, drivers will usually bend or break the rules to get what they want.
Some establishments go as far as hiring enforcement officers to patrol the parking lot and catch delinquents. An officer’s job is to issue a ticket on a vehicle violating the rules, notifying the driver that a fine is owed. After writing the ticket, the officer files it to the local authority, which officially fines the rule-breaker by mail.
Although this approach has worked for decades, it comes with significant problems. For starters, hiring a person to walk around a parking lot is expensive and does not guarantee 100% supervision. Not even the most dedicated officer can catch all the violations. Furthermore, flagging violators today does not mean your rules will be better followed tomorrow. You will likely have a bunch of new rule-breakers to catch.
Smart parking to the rescue!
Like numerous other sectors worldwide, parking is feeling the profound influence of digital-age technologies. Today, parking service providers are utilizing sensors, cameras, computers, and mobile devices to streamline many parking processes. With technology, you can implement standards that make the most use of your parking lot while ensuring maximum convenience for your customers.
Industry-leading parking tech companies like Pavemint offer comprehensive solutions that enable you to create and assign parking passes right from your personal computer or smartphone. Driver and vehicle information, the space they have occupied, and the time they plan to vacate are all laid out on an intuitive, easily accessible dashboard. Furthermore, motorists planning to visit your store can book a parking spot and pay in advance using a mobile-based app.
Additionally, a smart parking solution can collect everyday data, such as the number of cars parked, how long each vehicle stayed, and the time most cars arrived. This data can help you plan your parking allocations based on a reliable demand trend rather than speculation. You can use automatic arrows to direct customers to the most optimum parking spots and increase or reduce your parking hours limit depending on the time of day. Parking data can also shed some light on the efficiency of the processes in your store. If cars tend to overstay in the evenings more often than during the day, you can look into diverting more staff from the morning to the evening shift.
Parking is a crucial element of running a business in today’s urban areas. An inefficient parking lot could be costing you a lot in lost revenue. Thankfully, you can alleviate most parking problems relatively cost-effectively with the right technologies. Improve your parking process today and give customers more reason to visit your store.