Băneasa Shopping City – Underground Parking Project. This project is build to create an emotional connection with customers by conveying a pleasant, clear, intuitive experience in the underground parking.
About Băneasa Shopping City
With an area of over 85,000 square meters, Băneasa Shopping City is one of the largest shopping areas in România. Located in the northern area of Bucharest with the most demographic growth and the biggest purchasing power, the shopping center rejoices over 23.000.000 visits each year (Băneasa Shopping City and Feeria Gallery) and more than 90.000 visits every week-end.
Băneasa Shopping City is a landmark in the Romanian fashion and entertainment market, by offering its customers a unique mix of brands that can satisfy even the most demanding desires in terms of shopping, from the internationally renowned to Romanian designer’s shops, as well as a variety of fine restaurants and cafes. The shopping centre includes an impressive entertainment area, Grand Entertainment, which comprises: Grand Cinema & More, the cinema fully equipped with the revolutionary technology Dolby Atmos, Grand Combo the area dedicated to games and also Grand play area dedicated to children.
With an area of 32,000 sqm, 17 parking areas totaling 678 parking spaces, 2 entrances, 2 exit points and 2 mall entrances, the underground parking is the first point of customer perception about the shopping center, the point where the customer experience begins.
The main challenge for Băneasa Shopping City was to improve the customer experience in this area and to transform the parking into a gateway to delightful service. Acknowledging that the parking is not a place as friendly as the shopping centre, where the customer feels relaxed and safe, the management initiated a rebranding project in order to create an enjoyable experience and an emotional connection with customers in this area.
The first issue to be addressed was the parking signage: panels which did not clearly indicate the direction and were misleading to customers, leading to a waste of time in the underground parking.
Withal, due to the improper parking signs, customers were receiving fines for incorrect parking and were sending complaints. The only caution in this regard was a sign that said “Attention! Wheels will be blocked in case of incorrect parking.” Another minus was the parking scarcity color: dominant grey- cold environment and few colors on pillars.
Although many of customers are families, there was no special care for pregnant women and families and the parking didn’t have special places for these categories of customers.
Creating a delightful experience
Băneasa Shopping City strategy was to create an emotional connection with customers, as a competitive differentiator, by conveying a pleasant, clear, intuitive experience in the underground parking.
How did they do this?
They reinvented the parking concept. The new concept “The parking of good life”, was an ambient reflection of recent positioning of the shopping center as “The City of Good Life”. Everything started from the trend of “betterment” – centered on self improvement, well being and create experiences.
As another constant concern of the company was customer loyalty, BSC has proposed to launch a range of benefits for customers through the mobile application “The CITY iLove”.
Communication of the strategy
To create a pleasant and positive experience, BSC used color markings and panels with motivational messages. Băneasa Shopping City rebranded parking areas with motivational verbs derived from the “betterment” trend: Act, Believe, Connect, Discover, Enjoy, Feel, Know, Join, Mix & Match, Live, Notice, Play, Smile, Taste. They also developed ambient visuals and word games linked to auto vocabulary and good life like: “Access the shortest route towards fun & fashion”, “Follow your style and you have every chance to become a trendsetter”, “Forget your GPS and discover new routes”, in order to create the emotional connection.
They developed a color code for communication needs. Different types of panels were created to cover all communication needs and every type of panel had a different color. They used light happy colors: green for panels related to electrical cars charging station, powerful Red for panels related to forbidden parking, Magenta for Panels marking parking spaces for pregnant women).
Concrete actions to improve customers experience
Improving parking panels and creating crosswalks for pedestrians
The first actions of BSC was to improve the directional panels in order to reduce the time spent in the parking area and to create visible and intuitive route for drivers and progressive path for pedestrians. They used suspended light boxes at intersections and directional panels placed on pillars that indicate the direction to every parking area and to the exit.
Educating customers for correct parking
Another equally important objective was to educate customers for correct parking in-between marked areas. For this purpose, BSC created panels that emphasize the correct method of parking by using emotional messages (“It is ok to stand out, but not through your parking style. “), clear graphic illustration and communicate the unlock service fee. They have chosen to use forbidden parking message only in places not suited for parking.
In order to support families and pregnant women, BSC created specialized parking places for those categories. Texts used for panels convey emotional messages to draw attention on parking places for pregnant women and families: “For a trendy look, the coolest accessory is politeness. Leave this space free for a future mother. “, “For a trendy look, the coolest accessory is politeness. Leave this space free for families with children.”
Because caring about the environment is as important as caring about people, BSC implemented an eco-friendly approach. They installed charging station for electrical cars and they used green panels for display signage.
The CITY iLOVE is a loyalty program, based exclusively on a mobile app, that has been launched in February 2016, after a 2 months Beta evaluation. The goal of this greater initiative is to provide customers unique, elegant and subtle experiences – they might not always have a striking effect from the first contact, but they will certainly be missed.
The parking customers who install this app have a wide range of benefits: discounts in over 40 partner stores, bonus points at cinema to enjoy favorite movies in Dolby Atmos format or from premium places, exclusive workshops related to fashion & style, store map for easy access to any store in Băneasa Shopping City, and soon free parking hours and mobile payment for parking.
BSC implemented the parking project because they understood that it is fundamental to have a unified approach of service in all shopping Centre areas and that each point of the Centre contributes to the big picture that the customer perceives.
We can’t declare that we offer delightful service, unless we ensure that all the elements that form the Big Picture were improved. It is in vain to have an excellent product if its delivery is delayed or the product is damaged on the way. The customer will be disappointed, will refuse the product and will not work with our company again. Similarly, a negative experience in the parking area may lead the customer same inconvenience as mentioned in example above.
Through this customer experience project, BSC has proved a constant concern for customer satisfaction and service improvement and has made the first steps towards superior service revolution.