STORES Magazine - May 2011 - (Page 36)

NUTS AND BOLTS / OPERATIONS Spot On Technology taking the hassle out of mall parking BY CRAIG GUILLOT s malls grow larger and U.S. shoppers continue their love affair with large vehicles, parking is a growing concern for many retailers. The more time a shopper spends trying to find a spot, the less time she spends in your store. Using a new technology, retailers and malls now have the potential to make their parking lots more efficient and user-friendly. A parking garage,” Joffe says. “It really has the potential to change the customer experience.” With Park Assist, drivers no longer have to slowly creep through a multi­ floor garage and turn blind corners to look for spots. The M3 cameras detect the presence of vehicles in each space and update LED indicators and digital signage around the garage to direct cus­ tomers to vacant spaces. Les Cowie, vice president of vertical markets at Amano McGann, the U.S. distributor of Park Assist, says it takes a lot of the hassle — and traffic — out of parking. “It guides you right to available spac­ es,” he says. “You immediately know what level to go to and what direction to find a space. The power of it is the convenience of parking fast.” Changing the landscape Jeff Becker, a vice president at Amano McGann, says that in busier malls Using its patented M3 camera vision system, wireless sensors and PASE­ Server, on­site parking management platform Park Assist helps drivers find where parking is a time­consuming battle, Park Assist can radically change the landscape. “People are in a much better mood when they get inside because they’re not driving around for 25 minutes trying to find a space,” he says. “They spend more time inside at the retailers.” Park Assist is currently being used in a growing number of shopping centers across the U.S., including Santa Monica Place and Westfield Century City in Southern California. At the Century City mall, it was shown to decrease the time it took to find a parking spot by 55 percent. When it comes time for a shopper to leave, the system can also help custom­ ers find their vehicles quickly and easily. Cameras in each parking spot take pho­ tos of the license plates and hold them in the database. Customers can simply walk up to a kiosk, punch in the first few digits of the license plate number and the kiosk will show them exactly where they parked. Joffe says the system has shown to produce a 2 to 5 percent rise in store traffic at malls where it’s been deployed. “People are in a much better mood when they get inside because they’re not driving around for 25 minutes trying to find a space.” — Jeff Becker, Amano McGann spaces and park their vehicles as quickly as possible. Park Assist managing di­ rector Richard Joffe says that while malls and retailers have long been using technology in their stores, they have neglected an important location where many shopping experiences begin. “We wanted to find a way to use all of the technologies being used inside the shopping center and bring it to the 36 STORES / MAY 2011 What’s more, license plate tracking allows the system to ensure that em­ ployees are parking where they are sup­ posed to. Putting fully­customizable operational control in the hands of the garage, retailers can also enforce 60 to 90 minute “short stays.” “We are seeing enormous demand from the retail sector,” Joffe says. “They are seeing a genuine rise in not just op­ erational values but in” increased store traffic. StORES Craig Guillot is a New Orleans-based writer and photographer. WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2011

STORES Magazine - May 2011
Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail People
Supply Chain
Getting Closer to Customers
Workforce Management
Customer Satisfaction
Customer Rewards
Human Resources
2011 Software Sourcebook Guide
Website Security
Divisional Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2011