More and more of our daily business takes place online. When it comes to retail e-commerce transactions, 2017 saw sales worldwide of $2290 billion US, expected to grow 20% to $2774 billion in 2018. This represents a consistent trend with no signs of decline. Outside of retail, e-commerce booking is spreading to a diverse range of service industries, and that includes parking.
As the Internet becomes the default solution for parking customers and B2B partnerships it is more important than ever to offer users a frictionless, seamless digital experience that aligns with their daily lives. Consumers expect an optimised user experience as a basic requirement, and they expect it across all platforms and devices.
In line with the focus on user experience, it is crucial to understand why customers come to your site. What do they need? Invariably they are looking for convenience and a reliable service. This knowledge makes it possible to develop a targeted user-experience (UX) strategy that offers the best solutions for customers and employees alike.
First impressions count
As your venue looks to engage parking customers digitally, it is important to focus on delivering online experiences that lead to bookings and ongoing loyalty. A study by Forrester Research found that a well-designed user interface could raise website conversion rates by up to 200%. However, the study goes on to show, that really great UX design could help conversions increase by up to 400%.
When a customer lands on your site you have only seconds to capture their interest. However, by investing in UX optimisation it is possible to gain brand recognition, trust and ensure retention within those vital moments.
Deciding what’s important
UX strategies can seem complicated, particularly when it comes to deciding exactly what will work for your parking business. There is a wealth of ideas, approaches and technologies on offer. Too often companies will look to their competitors for guidance, implementing UX ideas that may not suit their own target market. However, the road to an effective and enjoyable user experience for your venue can be found through analysis.
The decision as to which methods to use revolves entirely around your venue’s goals. Integrated CRM e-commerce software like Rezcomm Shop will measure customer facing and back-end functions such as user buying habits and retention, and give you access to meaningful insights that you can actually use to optimise your business.
What’s it worth?
UX makes the complex easy to use, effectively improving how a venue interacts with its website across devices and platforms, and how the business engages its customers. In both internal and external operations (customer facing and B2B interactions) a strong user flow will lead to increased sales, increased customer retention, a lower cost for customer acquisition, lower training costs and a higher market share.
UX is important for consumers, and for businesses that want to convert website or app visitors to bookings. Here are some UX features that create user flow for customers…
1. Mobile commerce
In the travel industry, mobile bookings are on the increase. In 2018, 80% of last minute bookings were made on mobile.
With as much as 57% of all website traffic now coming from mobile, it’s absolutely vital that your site is mobile-optimised. In fact, market leaders recommend that rather than trying to replicate the desktop experience on mobile it is better to have a mobile-first approach. This means that text is big enough to read, images, videos and interactive content can be accessed on all devices, loading speed is acceptable and the user interface is intuitive, brand-matched, offers trustworthy payment gateways, and retains as much functionality as possible.
When your venue uses the integrated booking platform available through Rezcomm Shop, customers will be able to browse and book direct through mobile devices using the built-in mobile commerce shopping cart.
2. Social media login
Social login allows users to easily log in to your website or app using their existing social media account. This is attractive to customers and increases flow as it saves the time and effort of filling out a detailed customer account form and the need to remember another password.
Rezcomm Shop includes integration with social platforms including Facebook, Google and Twitter, allowing for social login at checkout.
3. Accurate, relevant search results
Rezcomm’s new Shop, launching in 2019, features a best-of-breed SMARTsearch widget. This widget takes the hard work out of searching for availability and makes the booking journey much quicker and easier. Its built-in auto-complete presents the customer with appropriate, available options. Fully responsive across devices, it takes into account the needs of the mobile customer whilst continuing to offer a frictionless experience on desktop.
4. Visualisation (including maps)
Rezcomm is also integrating more visualisation into the customer booking journey, and visualisation gives great UX. For example, when a customer can see a map of your parking facilities and gain a strong sense of the distance of each car park to the venue or terminal building, they know exactly what they will get for each pricing option, making booking straightforward. Within this flow there is also the opportunity to up-sell to the traveller, often a businessperson, who prioritises convenience over cost.
UX is equally vital behind the scenes, smoothing the operation of your parking inventory and informing business decisions. Here are some UX features that create user flow for employees and operators…
5. A user-friendly dashboard
Every business, whether it runs using a website, app or B2B tool, can benefit from user flow. Rezcomm Shop comes with a user-friendly, actionable dashboard which gives insight into sales, average spend, operational movements and conversions. This makes it easy to make the right decisions for your business, and to see where UX flow can be improved. And because it’s intuitive and user-friendly, it doesn’t require hours of training for staff to benefit from the information it provides. By delivering actionable insights, UX creates the capacity to create new business models that go on to become a necessary part of the evolving digital landscape.
6. Real-time insights
Actionable insights in real-time can be a game changer, saving time and money, improving conversions and optimising capacity.
Rezcomm’s reporting and analytics functions can lead to improvements in operational flow. It is possible to measure financial performance, allowing you to quickly identify which products and services are performing well (or not) in real time.
Operational reports provide real-time visibility of the arrival and/or departure associated with the visitor’s consumption of products or service. This means you can plan for peak times and determine how much resource is required to manage visitor experience. It is also easy to monitor behavioural trends across your venue’s entire product and service range, predicting your visitors’ needs, and to forecast real-time revenue projections. All this means it is possible to take rapid action, meaning if things aren’t working well they don’t stay that way for long.
7. Connect to your own ERP system
Not only can reports be viewed in several visualisation-friendly formats through the user dashboard, they can also be exported to your favourite spreadsheet tool. They can then be integrated directly into your ERP system or sent to your finance department for further analysis. This means you can work seamlessly across departments to study long-term analytics and inform business decision.
8. Professional themes and templates
The themes and customer journeys in Rezcomm Shop have been created and developed in conjunction with some of the industry’s top professionals, meaning that your online shop will offer the best possible customer experience.
This includes a fully optimised customisable shop-front, which maximises visitor interaction and product engagement. It is easy to change the look and feel of the whole shop or an individual product by using the settings in the shop management area.
9. The ability to manage live occupancy
It’s also really easy to manage capacity. Shop makes it possible to view live occupancy, compare gate prices to pre-book prices, and to identify the prices that will encourage your customers to book in advance. This takes the guesswork out of pricing your parking inventory, which from an operational point of view is great for user flow with the added benefit of increased customer satisfaction. You will optimise your capacity, and customers won’t feel ripped off.
10. The potential to create and manage products in one place
You’ll be able to create and manage as many types of product as you need in one place, set yield, lead time and exception rules. Manage pricing, images and content and preview your products and publish them with ease.
User experience and convenience is paramount in customer retention, loyalty and growing your parking business. However, it’s clear that user experience should be frictionless at both sides of any business to work. There is no point in the customer having a smooth online journey only for the booking to be less than satisfactory due to problems behind the scenes, and the level of customer expectation demands that back-end processes must be streamlined to make it possible for businesses to deliver.
If you would like to know more about how Rezcomm can help UX flow for your e-commerce parking operation, or for advice on your marketing strategy for 2019, contact the team today.
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