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MasterCard and Parkeon have teamed up to boost customer engagement and the customer experience for patrons using parking meters. The recent launch of “City Connector” comprises a service that transforms parking meters into retail hubs for local shops, restaurants, and experiences.
The couponing platform turns Parkeon’s on-street meters into a communication channel for communities by delivering offers and services from local businesses. The first implementation went live in Downtown Las Vegas, and MasterCard and Parkeon plan to roll the product out widely across the U.S. and Europe
Loyalty360 asked Will Judge, Head of Urban Mobility, MasterCard Enterprise Partnerships a series of questions to expand upon this unique offering.
Can you describe how this couponing platform works and how it will impact customer engagement and the customer experience?
By turning traditional parking meters into a communication channel for communities–using existing infrastructure in smarter, more innovative ways–City Connector is providing cities with a new way to engage consumers, and connect citizens and visitors with local businesses to the benefit of all.
Powered by MasterCard’s Enterprise Offers Platform, the solution delivers location-based offers to consumers, allowing local businesses to display promotions on the interactive on-street parking meter screens. A consumer can approach a City Connector parking meter whether they are parking their car or just walking by. The solution is available to everyone and is not dependent on paying for parking. There’s no registration and no fee to use the service. Consumers can scroll through coupons, then select and print them from the terminals immediately for use in the local area.
The SaaS (software as a service) solution allows third parties to publish offers, manage entire campaigns and specify targeting criteria, enabling more relevant and more customized experience for consumers.
What prompted this launch?
Today’s consumers want relevant rewards and offers in the moment and on the go. They are looking for services that fit their lives–what they want and where they want it. Convenience is key. We are constantly innovating to ensure that consumers get the best and most bespoke retail experience possible.
In addition, we always want to help local businesses find new ways to connect with potential customers when they are nearby and looking for great deals.
With this in mind, MasterCard and Parkeon partnered in October 2013 with the aim of enabling shoppers to benefit from local merchant offers and loyalty services through their global network of smart parking terminals. We have now brought this to market in the first of what we eventually expect to be a global rollout. By transforming the parking meter into a retail hub, City Connector helps bring together consumers and communities to support their local economy.
Did customer feedback play a role and, if so, in what way?
MasterCard and Parkeon have been working together to develop a robust solution that delivers value to all stakeholders within a city. A key insight that informed our development was that we can all feel bombarded by marketing, so we tune out offers.
City Connector cuts right through that consumer frustration by taking an individual’s location into consideration and offering them opportunities in their surrounding area. Consumers are given control over what offers appeal to them; the on-street interactive screens with no registration make it easy for people to select deals that matter to them.
We have also gone through a period of extensive testing and development. The concept was initially tested in a small scale pilot, and we have since used the insight from that pilot to develop the platform and enhance the offering.
How do you define customer loyalty and has that definition changed in recent years?
For us, loyalty is all about a consumer’s connection to a particular brand, business, area or community, and their desire to maintain that relationship. When it comes to creating loyalty, you need to really understand your customers—how, what, and where they spend—so that what you offer is right for their needs. And then you need to deliver what they expect.
In terms of how that dynamic has changed over the last few years, shoppers are increasingly demanding the best and most personalized experience possible. By combining MasterCard’s global network, data and technology assets together with Parkeon’s global distribution infrastructure, we can start the retail experience from the moment we get out of our cars and make it as bespoke as possible.
At MasterCard, we have the opportunity to reinvent and rewire the way people interact with merchants by providing solutions and experiences that work for both the retailer and the shopper. Through our partnership with Parkeon we continue to put the customer journey first by creating products and experiences that are tailored and relevant to local shoppers.
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