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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 15-Mar-18


Sunday 15-April-18

Charging for Parking at the Mall??

If you are American, you have probably been to more than a few out-of-town malls. Common for decades in the USA, the format has spread around the world. You will have gathered from the title of this article that charging to park at such establishments could be in question.

Surely not? Would you pay to park at the mall? Well, you might. If there was no alternative, or at least no better or more convenient alternative.

In the UK, where I live, some places charge for parking and some do not. I really recently went to the 'Clarks Retail Village' in Somerset, where they do charge for parking, so what, I wondered, was the effect on me, or perhaps the average shopper, who does not fret so much about what is happening in the darker recesses of their mind.

Paying for parking before going shopping is an investment. I have paid something, so I want value for this, so I am more likely to buy something. And once I have bought one thing, I get myself in the mood for shipping and am more likely to buy other things. Indeed, paying for parking will already have got my 'spending frame of mind' in motion.

Another factor that affected me was the price for parking. It was one pound for an hour and three pounds for five hours. This is a rather curious offering. Many people would like around two hours to shop, but paying three times as much for twice the time doesn't look good. I, probably like many, went for the one hour slot. However, if I had gone for the five hour slot, I may have hung around for much longer than I had intended.

Anyway, I had one hour for what should have taken two hours. The result of this was a 'hurry up' pressure, leading to more rapid and less considered purchasing. I was looking for a pair of shoes, and quickly accepted the sales patter. Result: I bought two pairs. Another result was that I didn't have time to browse in other shops, so there was also a downside for other retailers there.

The bottom line? Parking pricing is complex and can have varying effects on shoppers. When you are thinking about whether and how much to charge, a good understanding of shopper psychology can be very important.

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