During the holiday shopping season, searching the mall parking lot for a place to park is often a frustrating challenge.

With lessening stress on shoppers in mind, the Mayfair Mall owners have developed an app that promises to make open spaces easier to find.

General Growth Properties is rolling out an industry-first tool that will give Wauwatosa shoppers assistance and visibility into parking availability. The new technology uses heat maps to show open parking spaces closest to shoppers’ favorite stores or restaurants and helps shoppers plan and prepare for their mall visits.

“Shopper traffic at successful regional shopping centers is consistently high which can make parking very difficult," Mayfair Mall General Manager Chris Jaeger said. "We’ve asked our customers for feedback and it is unanimous that the biggest “pain point” is finding a parking spot.”

To instantly view parking availability, shoppers can visit the parking page of the mall's website, or open the GGP Malls app on their iPhone or Android device. Upon opening, the app will ask for your preferred mall, and after you select "Mayfair," touch the parking icon and you will be taken to the appropriate parking lot map.

The map shows available parking by shading in sections of the lot; green means less than 40 percent full, yellow means 40 to 70 percent full, and red means over 70 percent full. Shoppers can also type in their preferred store and the map will display the best parking options at that moment.

In addition to the parking assistance, the app includes a directory of stores, special offers for shoppers and dining options.

“Mobile technology continues to play an important role in the shopper’s path to purchase,” GGP chief executive officer Sandeep Mathrani said. “Parking is the very first and very last engagement we have with our shoppers.”

The tool gives shoppers visibility into parking availability throughout the day. According to a recent survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers, on average, U.S. adults visit shopping centers 5.6 times per month. The study also states that 86 percent of shoppers use a mobile device while shopping.

"Mall traffic continues to rise, and during peak shopping seasons, such as holiday and back to school, parking continues to be one of the largest pain points," Scott Morey, executive vice president at GGP said. "We're always looking for opportunities to incorporate technology within our portfolio to elevate the shopping experience."

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