Zapper has completed its integration with three of South Africa’s largest parking management systems. The move allows users to quickly scan and pay for their parking at a growing network of venues, reducing queues and possible contamination at payment stations.The Zapper solution also enables businesses to gain valuable customer insights to help them attract and retain customers – an invaluable offering as shopping malls and other venues struggle to drive foot traffic.

“South Africa’s 2000-odd malls and thousands of entertainment venues were already battling a sluggish economy before the pandemic hit. Ensuring a strong comeback must be top of mind for venue owners, property managers and property investment funds across the country,” Brett White CEO of Zapper explains.

“More than just providing a frictionless parking payment solution, venues offering Zapper payments are able to tap into our powerful loyalty and voucher options. In addition, user behaviour data and customers insights generated from our system will also help destinations develop campaigns to boost revenues for tenants.”

According to Google’s Community Mobility Reports, at the end of September, visits to retail and recreation destinations were still down by 14% across the country, when compared to the baseline measurement in January this year. White says “this is clear evidence that South Africans are still wary of venturing out, making meaningful economic recovery difficult for the struggling retail and hospitality industries.”

Zapper’s 1D barcodes and 2D QR code solutions have already been deployed at Canal Walk, Cape Gate, Melrose Arch, Fourways and Eikestad Mall, with 117 Strand (Cape Town) and Lynwood Bridge (Pretoria) to follow soon. Rollout to the rest of Servest (using the Designa system), Skidata and HubParking (using the Zeag system) venues nationwide will continue over the coming months.

Cashless convenience

White says the Zapper solution reduces the need for cash, which is costly for parking management. Similarly, not having to maintain card facilities at paypoints is beneficial to management. For the user, the marked reduction in friction at the paypoint is the big win.

“Queue busting at shopping malls, airports and other venues will really help the overall customer experience. The process is as simple as opening the Zapper app and scanning the QR code on the parking ticket. Zapper automatically calculates the rate, the shopper taps ‘pay’ and, once the transaction is confirmed, they can insert the parking ticket at the boom and exit as usual. There is no need to queue at the ticket stations,” White explains.

Statistics for Canal Walk, one of the larger malls in the country with 8,000 parking bays, show a marked increase in adoption. From approximately 2,500 unique customers paying for parking with Zapper in June, the centre has shown almost 15,000 so far in October, with over 50,000 tickets paid with Zapper since reopening paid parking in June after lockdown Level 4.

Loyalty benefits

The programme allows frequent shoppers to qualify for parking discounts. The loyalty programme can also be used with the retailers at the malls with shoppers qualifying for discounted parking as a reward for shopping at certain merchants.

“Loyalty is incredibly popular in South Africa, with the latest figures by Truth and BrandMapp showing 72% of our economically active population making use of loyalty programmes. People are driven by getting something back in exchange for handing over our token of identity. The value of this data for retailers is enormous as they can better craft marketing strategies and roll out campaigns that effectively reach their target customers, driving customer loyalty and boosting revenue. This is so necessary in our economy right now,” White says.

White explains that “the benefit of using Zapper as part of a venue’s loyalty programme is that it is digitised. This means users don’t have to carry around another card, as the programme is built into the transaction process and is almost invisible to the consumer.”

“Everything about this is geared to make the whole experience better for the visitor. Many retailers, airports, hospitals and other venues are focusing on customer experience as a means to differentiate themselves. Parking, as the customers’ first and last impression, should receive the same care and attention as the main attraction,” White advises.