Friday, December 20, 2013

Phone App For Finding Parking Spaces At The Mall

American's love to find the closest parking space near a store and the new smartphone apps like ParkMe are being developed to help shoppers find parking availability in shopping malls at Christmas.

“What happens when there’s no spots? People drive around and become frustrated,” said Kathy Grannis, a spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation. “Who wants to start their shopping experience frustrated?”

The app from ParkMe (Santa Monica, Calif.) tracks more than 28,000 locations worldwide, including shopping malls, airports, parking garages and other congested areas where parking can be a problem.
 “If there’s a way to get in off the beaten path, you can reduce stress,” said Sam Friedman, ParkMe’s co-founder and ceo.

The app works through a magnetic loop at the garage or lot that clocks the number of times the gate lifts to admit or release a car. ParkMe also lets a customer reserve a spot in certain locations.
Taubman Centers Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) has installed sensors in the garages of two of its 22 U.S. malls to show shoppers on which floors they could find open parking spots. Installation costs $50,000 to $100,000 per location.

Simon Property Group Inc. (Indianapolis) has said that use of its free app in its more than 300 properties, which includes a feature that helps shoppers locate their parked car, had increased eightfold in the last two years.

The New York Times reports that there are other parking apps gaining traction as well, like Parkopedia, which is linked to 26,000 lots in North America, and QuickPay, which plans to start in hundreds of malls in the U.S. next year.

 “Parking is the gateway to the shopping experience,” said QuickPay’s founder, Barney Pell. “It can mean the success or failure of your whole business.”


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