The marketer’s role in retail has changed dramatically in the last two years. A new generation of digital consumer has required an ever-deepening integration of personalisation into the core customer experience, and it has become necessary for marketers to repeatedly disrupt their own strategies and experiment with new technologies and tactics to stay ahead.
2018 saw the rise of influencer marketing, chatbots and social advertising, with an intense focus on customer convenience. Email marketing remained the strongest option for ROI with a $38 return for every $1 invested, and email is recognised as the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, after industry-specific thought leaders and colleague recommendations.
While e-commerce retail continues to grow, customer expectation and behaviour is naturally changing across a wide range of customer-facing industries. There’s an increased emphasis on luxury brands, and that includes travel. According to Allied Market Research, the global luxury travel market will reach $1,154 billion by 2022.
In line with the importance of convenience, Airport Business Magazine reports that parking currently offers the biggest opportunity for growth with more sustained gains than other revenue streams.
The focus on ease of use backed by an integrated, holistic approach to data is taking transportation to new heights too, as smart cities like winner of Smart Cities Dive Awards 2018 ‘City of the Year,’ Columbus, OH, implement innovations made possible by Cloud-based data exchange. Add to this the fact that the global smart parking market is set to grow at a CAGR of around 4.9% over the next decade to reach approximately $1461.52 million by 2025, and the opportunities seem clear.
The market in 2019 will be defined by emerging technologies that change the way consumers interact with their preferred brands. As parking operators look to build on the marketing innovations of 2018 we take a look at trends that are set to grow into 2019 and beyond.
Three Top Marketing Predictions for 2019
1. E-parking will offer exponential opportunity
E-parking is no longer a novelty. While Airport Business says in November 2018, “Airports seeking to unlock rapid profit growth need look no further than just outside the terminal entrance for the next big opportunity,” enough airports are already offering integrated online parking products that those which don’t begin to stand out - and not in a good way.
The expectation for market growth is underlined by the appearance of new Cloud-based parking platforms and uptake by large airports such as Toronto Pearson and tourist hotspots like Italy’s Venice Marco Polo and Treviso Airport.
Data collection continues to play a crucial role in customer acquisition and retention. As such, airports and venues that undertake strategic partnerships with Cloud based parking reservation specialists like Rezcomm are strongly placed to meet customer demand and build strong reputations.
A car-park booking platform that is integrated into the airport website connects parking providers with customer data and the tools to optimise the customer experience. It also offers unlimited opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling, promotion of new routes, events and destinations, and optimisation of on-site concessions. It creates the environment for strong customer relationships in line with the fascination of today’s consumer for experience over material objects.
Airports and venues looking to integrate online car park booking and other e-commerce elements into their website should consider the level of specialism offered by various partners. Rezcomm has many years experience working with airports, parking operatives and venues worldwide, and Rezcomm Shop is a fully hosted SaaS cloud e-commerce platform that represents industry-specific expertise and functionality.
For more up-to-date insights into e-commerce parking check out these 25 Tips from the Parking E-Commerce Experts.
2. Cross-channel marketing will evolve
Integrated crosschannel marketing and the wider use of omnichannel communications continue to centre on the customer in 2019. This represents the importance of reaching and interacting with customers seamlessly across touchpoints in all channels.
Strategies should acknowledge that a customer may begin their journey in one channel and move to another as they progress to conversion. It is also vital that companies can track success across platforms throughout the customer journey. Here are some important channels to consider:
The importance of mobile-responsive websites is old news. Future innovation will come in the form of UX such as speed and personalisation on mobile, and user interfaces based on insight.
Google continues to dominate the results that businesses get from search engine marketing, and advances such as Ads, Doubleclick and Data Studio will continue to evolve in 2019.
Social media stats from Ofcom show that Facebook use is declining in most age groups except for over 55’s (who are now the biggest group of users), Instagram is enjoying an increase in usage across age groups and Snapchat shows its largest increase and biggest user-group in the 25-34 age range. According to Merkle, Facebook ad-spend increased 40% in 2018, but spend on Instagram jumped by 177% in the same period. Within Facebook, the increased adoption of Messenger is an opportunity for targeted, sponsored advertising and for brand to customer conversations. Social media is also important in B2B relationships with LinkedIn set to grow in importance.
Email marketing techniques are well established, and ongoing trends here relate to improving relevance and interactivity on mobile. For more ideas check out our blog: Solve your venue’s email marketing woes.
Analytics offer actionable insights that enable data-driven marketing. An integrated e-commerce and CRM solution like Rezcomm Shop offers on-trend dashboard reporting and analysis that offers clear information about operational and customer activity in real time. By using data to understand traveller behaviour it is easy to make more powerful decisions about the running of your parking inventory. Using omnichannel analytics, parking operators can adjust the supply chain based on trends to ensure they have enough capacity and optimal staffing to account for demand.
Marketing funnels are becoming more sustainable, with the conversion funnel prioritising continuing engagement over transactional relationships. This increased focus on nurturing customer relationships makes it more likely that a customer will stay with and become an ambassador for the brand. When a business continuously engages its clients, building trust, it has greater staying power. This is the function of the two-way conversations made possible by content marketing. Content is a vital tool in omnichannel marketing. It builds trust, generates leads and builds site traffic. In 2019 the focus turns to content marketing based around a deep understanding of personas. Rezcomm Shop enables a holistic customer view that makes it easy to supply relevant content and drive customer engagement.
3. Consumers are ready to accept dynamic pricing
Dynamic pricing is one of the most sophisticated uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence within the retail industry. Based on the principal that the best price for a product fluctuates based on supply, demand, seasonality and competitor prices, prices can change throughout a single day based on retail trends.
For more information on the principles behind dynamic pricing, head over to our blog 'Dynamic Pricing: A New Revenue Stream for Parking'.
While dynamic pricing is not new, 2018 was the year that it became the norm as AI and machine learning made the processes more automated and efficient thanks to the abundance of data, and 2019 will see more businesses taking advantage of pricing based on AI-enabled personalisation. Machine learning can allow a company to account for differentiating factors and to generate the right price at the right time whilst still accounting for sales goals.
Parking operatives may fear that travellers won’t accept dynamic pricing, and that change in tariffs will weaken their drive-up business. This is not the case, as demonstrated by the fact that the practice is spreading to new industries.
In October 2019, Disney World rolls out a new sophisticated dynamic pricing structure that allows for different tariffs depending on parameters such as date and length of stay. In an interview for Travel Weekly, Dennis Speigel, president of Cincinnati-based consulting firm International Theme Park Services, says:
"The airlines, hotels and car rental companies have all mastered dynamic pricing, and it's slowly been creeping into the theme parks and attractions.
"People like this type of pricing because it allows them to choose their visits based on their situation and lets them find the best deal. In the end, the consumer wins because they get that level of choice, and the park wins because they get people to buy tickets and visit during periods that they normally may have difficulty filling.”
And according to Airport Business, returns from dynamic pricing far outweigh any impact on drive-up volume and customers adapt remarkably quickly, as shown by the uptake of Uber’s dynamically priced taxi cab service. In fact, customers are normally happy to pay more for convenience and a quality service.
Rezcomm Shop comes with a fully optimised suite of tools that allows parking operators to set dynamic tariffs based on considerations such as capacity and peak use in real time, making parking both more competitive and more profitable in line with best practice across e-commerce. The software even includes business intelligence capabilities that will flag up when a particular pricing structure will create problems, taking the guesswork out of pricing.
If you would like to know more about how Rezcomm can future-proof your e-commerce parking operation, or for advice on your marketing strategy for 2019, contact the team today.
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