You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We have all heard it, but how many have considered where a first impression happens for your customers? The parking lot is the first “in person” environment where your customer interacts with your retail business. It would be a shame if a customer has a bad experience before they even get to see your displays or talk to an employee. Parking lots can be dangerous places if the proper precautions aren’t implemented. Damage to vehicles and store property can occur, and pedestrians are also at risk for accidents and theft. Some commonsense investments can make a big difference, not only for safety, but for a positive shopping experience.
5 Tips for Keeping Parking Lots Safe
- Control the flow of traffic. Controlling traffic flow will prevent cars from driving in the wrong direction or through the parking lot, minimizing the risk of accidents. A few methods for controlling traffic flow include designating separate entrances and exits, installing speed bumps and making sure parking spaces have visible lines. Make your parking lot easy to navigate, enter and exit.
- Make sure the parking lot is well lit. A well-lit parking lot helps prevent theft as well as vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents, such as tripping or falling.
- Install bollards to prevent vehicle damage to storefronts. Cars run into buildings more often than you think. The Commercial Real Estate Development Association estimates there are more than 50 accidents every day involving vehicles colliding with commercial buildings. Installing bollards around storefronts is an easy way to fix this problem.
- Install cart corrals. Because the typical furniture store does not utilize carts in their stores, this one is often overlooked by furniture locations that share space with other businesses. Cart corrals invite customers to voluntarily return carts, preventing them from rolling through the parking lot and damaging cars, pedestrians and buildings. It’s well worth giving up a parking space or two to allow for cart corrals to wrangle in carts from neighboring businesses. The alternative is cart crashes into YOUR customer’s vehicles that may choose to shop elsewhere because of a negative parking lot experience.
- Create pedestrian walkways. A well-designed pedestrian walkway placed in busy areas of the parking lot can serve two purposes. First, it will make drivers aware of pedestrian traffic so they will anticipate stopping. Second, it will (hopefully) discourage pedestrians from taking shortcuts and conflicting with vehicle traffic.