Bed Bath & Free Valet Parking, Too

Discussion
Dec 23, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Bed Bath & Beyond in Pleasant Hill, Ca. wanted to make its customers feel special and keep traffic moving smoothly through its parking lot, as well as in its store this holiday
season, so it decided to offer free valet parking.

Susan Corby, district training director at Bed Bath & Beyond, told the Contra Costa Times that parking can be a frustrating exercise and, in previous holiday seasons,
“you could sense the tension in the store. … We thought we’d do something different this year.”

The Pleasant Hill store is located in a busy strip mall and is the only Bed Bath & Beyond in the area offering the service.

Joe Rothway, East Bay manager for Signature Parking, said Bed Bath & Beyond has hired his company specifically for holiday shopping. The store has offered the free service
on weekends since Thanksgiving and for the full week leading up to Christmas.

“It’s actually a good idea,” he said. “Most people don’t want to wait in traffic in a parking lot or drive around to get a spot.”

Customers love the service and not having to pay for it.

Linda Hansen of Concord, Ca., said, “I knew parking was going to be a nightmare. It’s great. Who needs to wait around?” 

Moderator’s Comment: Do services such as free valet parking pay for themselves during busy holiday seasons by attracting more shoppers to stores and
encouraging repeat visits? What innovative ways have retailers made holiday shopping easier on consumers this year?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Bed Bath & Free Valet Parking, Too"


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Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
15 years 2 months ago

A few days ago, we were speaking about long checkout lines…perhaps the crowded parking lot is even more of a turn off since it’s the first thing you see. I will pass a retailer and go on to a better parking situation if I see that it is a zoo. So, yes, valet parking is a plus. Whole Foods had it during Thanksgiving and it was great. The funny part was that people did not use it. I don’t think they thought it was real. They circled and circled rather than stopping and using the valet. I used it and boy was I pleased!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 2 months ago

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t trust people who needlessly insert “actually” into sentences. (Valley Girls are immune from this condemnation, because in their culture peer points are awarded for the number of times they insert “actually” into one sentence.) It reminds me of the term, “in all honesty.” I always assume people are telling the truth, but this phrase gives me reason to wonder. I don’t trust those folks, either.

So now we have Joe Rothway from Signature Parking forcefully asserting that valet parking for BB&B is “actually a good idea.” Apparently an “actually good” idea is better than a simple “good idea.” Here’s the point: When folks use weasel-words like “actually,” they’re hiding something. Anyone notice that this story was all about intent, without any results or conclusion? Me too, in all my Grinchness.

Merry Christmas, all!

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

A new shopping centre near here opened recently and, in spite of warnings from the Chamber of Commerce and existing shopkeepers, was built with insufficient parking spaces. Needless to say it is a nightmare with lots of I told you sos. Now they are thinking about building another level but that will take time and cause disruption. Should have been done at the outset. Valet parking at Christmas time especially is an extremely good idea and one answer to the question we keep discussing about ways to improve loyalty.

Marc Drizin
Guest
Marc Drizin
15 years 2 months ago

Retail shoppers buy products from retailers but form relationships with people. National studies have shown the impact “value added services” have on retail shoppers, and offering valet parking during the busy holiday season seems like a natural. Retail shopping is all about convenience, that’s the allure of online buying. Retailers who take the opportunity to not only meet, but exceed the expectations of shoppers will be the ones who continue to prosper, during fat times or lean.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

I doubt that free valet parking would add to most retailers’ profits, but it certainly helps pr, since it’s so unusual. It’s better for a retailer to get news stories about free valet parking than breaking the labor laws, for example. Valet parking might be a neat perk for a store’s best customers, or for stores with great margins and high dollar items. In Rio, the largest jewelry stores pay the cab fare for taxis arriving at their locations, and this is well-publicized to tourists. But Rio’s high-end jewelry stores don’t sell plastic diamonds for $39.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
15 years 2 months ago

Seasonal valet parking is a great idea for retailers whose parking lots are habitually full, with the exception of discount retailers where this could be a big disconnect. Another idea I saw yesterday at a spa is special parking combined with a special checkout counter for those picking up last-minute gift cards. This keeps the gift card buyers out of the way of the regular spa goers and increases gift card sales by speeding up the process. And, the local Lindt chocolate store gives away a high-end piece of chocolate at checkout – no announcement of a freebie – just a “would you like to try…?” It all increases the shopping experience and repeat visits.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 2 months ago

Great PR, which has its value. And if parking is tough there, it likely has ROI. (I’d consider having the free parkers have to show a store receipt to get their car back without paying, say, $2, but I’m a Scot tightwad. Not saying I’d do it, but I’d consider it.) I have a friend who owns a successful restaurant in the NYC suburbs, but there has never been enough parking. He added valet parking year-round, and, well, he’s driving a nicer car than I ever did.

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