Morrisons and Tesco are the latest retailers making parking bays available for non-customers to rent through an app.
Spaces at all stores with sufficiently large car parks will be listed on the YourParkingSpace platform, following recent deals struck by the supermarkets and the startup.
Select bays at 446 Morrisons locations can now be reserved and paid for in the app. Tesco lists bays at 98 stores and is extending availability to around 250 more.
The app can also be used to book bays at 203 Sainsbury’s locations and 81 Co-op sites, after earlier deals struck between the startup and those supermarkets’ car park operators.
Users seeking a place to park use the app to find and book spaces, which range from private driveways to dedicated lots. The app company - which is chaired by Morrisons chairman Andrew Higginson - takes a cut of the booking fee and the remainder goes to the landlord. Enforcement operations stay the same.
“Outside of the stores, retailers’ largest asset is their car parks, which most of the year are under-utilised,” said Higginson. “YourParkingSpace’s technology, audience and clever data analytics offer retailers the ability to monetise these unused assets whilst still protecting parking for their core customers, allowing them abundant spaces to park for free.”
YourParkingSpace co-founder and CEO Harrison Woods said stores enjoy “huge levels of profit” through the initiative. Landlords across the retail sector are expected to make £24.5m from the app this year, Woods said.
The supermarkets don’t pay to have bays listed on YourParkingSpace, but the startup is hoping to sell them the ability to send promotions to app users.
“The data collected from these kinds of customers will allow YourParkingSpace to send push notifications and marketing to the customer, notifying them of any offers and deals in-store, increasing the likelihood that they will end up becoming customers too, even if that was not the initial intention,” Woods said.
The feature is not live at supermarkets yet, but Premier Inn has rolled out static offers whereby people parking on site are sent deals on coffee within the hotel. It is understood Morrisons will be sending personalised offers to customers by the end of the year.
Higginson joined the board of YourParkingSpace in 2018, after Woods sent him an email.
“He’s from where I’m from in Bury, he used to go to my school. I emailed him, and we went for a coffee. He advised us and gave up his own time to help on our business strategy. So I asked him to be our chairman,” Woods said. “It’s a pretty good coup.”
YourParkingSpace said as per protocol, Higginson’s association with the startup was declared prior to any relationship with Morrisons being developed. The company is understood to be planning a funding round later this year. Raised funds will primarily be used to market the app to consumers.
“YourParkingSpace brings technology to bear in an industry that has been slow to adopt digital opportunities, and it will allow landlords to ‘future-proof’ their infrastructure and fully support new and emerging services like micro mobility, electric charging, shared fleet and so on,” Higginson added.