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Wednesday , 17 August 2022

Enhancing Customer Experience in Mall Parking

Q. As a customer I visit most of the malls in Delhi including DLF, Pacific, Select and others. I would like to carry a common card for all these malls owned by different companies. As owners of malls would you be interested if somebody gets a solution for this problem of having one single card?

Nimish Sonawala: The easiest single card which is there is your credit card. If you are willing to pay with your credit card or a debit card. All technology vendors have the ability to read a credit or debit card, so you can use that credit card to enter and leave. You don’t even need to take a ticket. Worldwide most car parking lots either work on license plate if you are a registered user or they work with the credit card. And now because of the new regulations which need the user to enter the pin number, they have the pin pad as well. Unfortunately in India we have an issue about low credit card penetration. For this reason we are looking at Near Field Communication (NFC) devices at very closely as an alternative. Actually, Skidata is already NFC certified but there is no technology standard yet and there is no acceptance yet with the standards over here. Secondly, we are looking out for other forms of mobile payments if that is possible and common payment gateways, if those are available. It does not matter which technology or which mall it is. You are paying with your visa card or master card either for Zaara or Nike and they all accept the same cards. Similarly, in parking it is exactly the same.

Unfortunately, we just do not have enough penetration and people are not willing to pay with credit cards. The moment there is demand for it the mall owners will invest in the readers. They are not doing it now because there is no demand for it. The other option we are talking about, at least within DLF’s four malls, is a pre-paid cash debit card from Skidata which can be used in other malls too.

Q. I think the parking rates at malls are very high. The rates for three hours are similar to the three hour parking rates near my house. Not only is this high but also the car park charges us for the inefficiency of parking and for the underutilisation of parking space. If the rates were cheaper perhaps we would consider staying longer at the mall.

Nimish Sonawala: The difference in parking rates is the difference between commercial and residential parking rates. That is also the reason we have the differential pricing; when the demand is low the prices of the parking is low and when the demand is more the price of the parking rises.

Q. I think the reluctance to pay parking charges comes from selling it as a business. Maybe it should be packaged with the main service I am buying, for example, it should be part of our cinema ticket.

Abhishek Bansal: We do this, for example we have a scheme, wherein if you shop for certain amount of money then you get a discount on parking or your parking is free and then we have other schemes wherein a lot of retailers say that if you shop for thousand rupees then you get parking free. So we have these schemes floating around and they are offered at the end of season sale time or new collection time.


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