The audience had quite a few questions for the panellists.
Q: How important is the data about the customers – who are the customers, where are they going etc? Would it be valuable to you if you got this data?
Benu Sehgal: Every little bit of information about the customer is of great value to us, I want to know who enters my mall, why he enters, what is the age group and where is he going. We also like to keep a track of what he does at the mall, what his buying preferences, tastes etc are so that we can have more options planned for him. We can have more offerings linked together and we can cross promote those things. So customer information is valuable everywhere.
Q: How important is cashless parking entry and exit in the mall?
Benu Sehgal: It is very important. We very much want to invest in RFID. This will also help the loyalty programe that was discussed earlier. We are already in talks for setting this up.
Brett Mathews: The cost of handling cash is quite high and that could be probably 6% of actual transaction. By the time you collect,
count, reconcile and having armoured vehicles sending it to the bank , the cost become quite significant. It is anonymous and provides no
information about customers, so elimination of cash transactions is of fundamental importance, not only in parking, but in other businesses too. My dream is that with this technology is, when you are booking a parking space, we should know who you are; we should know when you arrive so that we can start communicating with you as soon as you arrive. We can inform the user about the special offers on hand, or if there is a special coffee or dinner at the local restaurant and information like that. This opens up a whole new aspect of how the mall owners interact with the customers. As we discussed earlier, this may be the only industry where the customers are anonymous. So programmes such as loyalty programmes could be quite useful to address this. We could have a programme called Club Secure which has 500,000 members, where every day we could talk to them about parking. It could be an event or could be a retailer who has tied up with us for a special promotion, a special deal of the week etc. So to get that CRM going is of enormous value for everyone.
And the technology to do all this is very much available today, as was attested by our technology experts during our panel discussion. Secure Parking has developed our own in-house proprietary software to help with this.