Revenue Kicks Into High Gear
A new ancillary program has been a perfect fit not just in terms of added revenue but also for this center’s marketing objectives.
At a time when every last dollar of revenue matters, shopping centers are looking for new ways of adding ancillary income, including monetizing parking lots and roof space to add to the bottom line.
That was precisely what motivated Darren Neely, the Marketing and Specialty Leasing Coordinator at Eglinton Square Shopping Centre on the outskirts of Toronto, to set up space for car2go in the mall parking lot.
car2go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG that provides car-sharing services in over 22 European and North American cities, including Amsterdam, London, Miami, Austin, Vancouver and Toronto. Cars are conveniently accessed wherever parked via a downloadable smartphone app, car2go’s website, or on car2go’s Facebook page.
The company charges by the minute, with discounted fixed rates for hourly and daily usage. The rates are all-inclusive and cover rental, gas, insurance, parking (in authorized areas), and maintenance. Customers can take any of the car2gos they find on the spot or reserve one online 30 minutes in advance.
Neely says this program has been a great addition to the center, not just in terms of revenue, but also in catering to the center’s customer demographics. “We have a lot of shoppers who either walk or take public transit, but don’t own their own vehicle, this felt like a great opportunity to offer more freedom to our shoppers, while earning some additional income from a little used part of our parking lot,” he says.
“Being an urban service-based shopping centre, we have a very heterogeneous shopper profile, with shoppers ranging from young families to senior citizens,” Neely adds, “Our area is currently undergoing gentrification and has seen the population of young families rise significantly. The young mother who needs to get everything done to keep her family happy is who we see the most, as Eglinton Square has many family friendly services, including a play area and family room.”
Another advantage of this ancillary program is that it aligns with the center’s marketing objectives including a “green” commitment. “What’s great about the car2go program is that it aligns with our branding, our target shopper and our ‘green’ goals,” Neely says, “Younger people are more apt to use [the service] and the young mother is who we are targeting specifically. car2go is perfect for young mothers who have relied on public transportation in the past. Now, instead of having to bring a child on public transport, do all her errands, then bring children and shopping bags back on public transport with her, she can now use a car2go and enjoy an easy-going ride home or anywhere else around Toronto, without having to deal with crowded public transportation and their frequent stops.”
There are a large number of convenience retailers located on the same side of the mall—grocery, bank, pharmacy, dry cleaning, etc.—where car2go’s designated parking spaces are. The high volume of traffic for these services means the car2go spots are in a high-visibility area. Eglinton Square has used some of the less busy sections of the parking lot for many things, including windshield and headlight repair; a charity car show and hosting a fireworks retailer.
In addition to the added revenue, having car2go at the centre has had many advantages. “It attracts new shoppers to this location, as we are the first and only drop-off so far in the eastern greater Toronto area,” Neely says. “car2go does a great deal of self-promotion around Toronto. Being an official car2go stop has provided Eglinton Square with a great deal of additional advertising exposure both in and out of our trade area,” Neely says.