St Johns Shopping Centre

Bettering 2019: Road to Revenue Increase

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Defining a fresh approach

With the lingering impact of Covid on this city centre car park, revenues and usage were down 40% on 2019 positions. This was not in line with the shopping centre which had recovered to within 10% of pre-pandemic numbers.

With a change of ownership and an aspiration for growth, Neil Ashcroft, St Johns Centre Manager, saw an opportunity to deliver a fresh approach to the car parking provision. He wanted to invest in modernising the car park equipment and commercial offering whilst looking for ways to improve the customer journey. The changes proposed by Neil were supported by the owners and asset managers but required proof of value for money and the delivery of very defined criteria.

This criteria was: 

  • Ease of use 
  • Increase returning customers
  • Grow overall user numbers
  • Growth of revenues 

Building an innovative strategy

For this ambitious project, there was a need to update and upgrade the 10-year-old equipment in-situ. APT SKIDATA, the incumbent hardware provider, were selected following an extensive tender process to provide the necessary barriered parking solution and commercial ecommerce platform.

The equipment was the first stage as the centre management team saw an opportunity beyond the hardware itself and sought a partner to commercialise the full potential of the parking solution in a way that hadn’t been done before in shopping centres.

Apex Parking, a boutique car park operator and specialist strategic commercial partner, were engaged to develop and deliver a business plan to rebuild the revenues on site. They focused on maximising the capabilities of equipment platform, development of key products and a comprehensive marketing strategy. 

Neil was very clear on what St Johns had to offer saying,

“We are in a great location with incredible facilities. We knew we needed to bring customers back, and we knew we needed a growth strategy that was innovative and sustainable. With the hardware, software and ecommerce solutions delivered by APT SKIDATA and the strategy delivered by Apex Parking, we also knew we were in safe hands.”

Building on the robust and expansive platform provided by APT SKIDATA, Apex set a strategy to deliver on the three key criteria by: 

  • Repositioning tariffs 
  • dentifying a ‘hero product’
  • Marketing the bold new pricing strategy 

Apex Director, Ben Sullivan says,

“We worked closely with Neil and his team at St Johns to improve the customer journey and with APT SKidata who supported us in delivering the parking solution and establishing a platform for growth. The growth has been beyond our expectations at this point in our business plan”

Delivering the framwork for success

The ‘hero product’ created by Apex was delivered through the SKIDATA Sweb.Ecom Pay Per Use (Autopay) platform. A mobile ecommerce solution enabling the simplest customer journey. Once registered, the customer drives in, parks, and drives out. Payment is taken automatically following exit. No queuing at the pay station. Everything is automated.

The ease of use of product linked to the strategic price as set by Apex Parking has successfully expanded the customer base of the car park. This retail car park is now delivering revenues from an extended group of users, to include commuters and leisure users whilst maintaining the provision of spaces for the core retail shoppers. 

The targets set by the owners and management team were to increase usage and revenue to pre-2019 numbers within 18 months and to increase known customers by 20% in the same timeframe. Tough targets, but by careful assessment and support of the bold volume-based strategy proposed by Apex; they set the framework for success.  

Ben Sullivan added,

“We had the challenge to get more customers in the car park. We knew that parking in the area was very price sensitive. We had built a great new car park infrastructure with APT SKIDATA and needed to fill the car park every day. So, we changed pricing and identified that hero product that we could quickly and effectively market to customers. A simple fixed price to be in the car park all day.”

Revitalised car park


We reduced the tariff, launched the £5 hero product and the results of this and additional initiatives have brought fantastic results to St Johns. The highlights of these results being:

    • Return to 2019 revenue figures within 8 months not 18 month
    • Volumes in excess of 2019 within the same time period – averaging 75% occupancy weekdays and reaching capacity on weekends 
    • 30,000 registered users for Autopay
    • 30% of daily customer are known 

APT SKIDATA Managing Director, Steve Murphy says,

“Working with operators such as Apex so closely, we understand the importance that they place on knowing their parking customers in order to deliver growth. We have a long reputation of delivering robust and high-quality parking solutions, but our holistic offering is where we see our ability and broadening strength in supporting landlords and operators such as our key strategic partners, as we have done with St Johns Shopping Centre and Apex Parking.”

The success of St Johns Shopping Centre’s revitalised car park serves as a powerful lesson for businesses: understanding and catering to your customers’ needs is essential for long-term growth.

By embracing innovative solutions, working closely with strategic partners, and prioritising customer experience, St Johns has re-established itself as a thriving parking destination in Liverpool.

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