As more people choose electric vehicles (EVs) over internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, this trend opens up exciting opportunities. Businesses can use electric vehicles to increase customer satisfaction and their profits at the same time. How can EV charging act as a value-added service? We look into that in this blog post.
What is a value-added service?
Value-added services are services that go beyond a business’s core product or main service. These extra services bring customers added value and increased satisfaction; think of warranty extensions or 24/7 customer support.
The advantages of value-added services
Value-added services help companies enhance their existing offerings and stand out from the competition.
Suppose the value-added service is strongly connected to the business’s core offering and is popular among customers. In that case, it also positively affects the perception of the core offering.
Not to mention, value-added services strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty to your brand. At the same time, these services can attract new clientele who wouldn’t have become aware of your business weren’t it for the value-added service.
Now, let’s look at why EV charging is a perfect example of a value-added service.
EV charging as a value-added service
Since electric mobility has only been growing in the past decade or so, EV charging is a relatively new value-added service for businesses, but a very promising one.
Many businesses like retail stores, restaurants, or hotels have adjoined parking spaces that can be easily equipped with EV charging stations. These locations are also usually centred in high-traffic areas, which are the perfect places for EV chargers. If your site has high customer frequency and your customers stay put for more extended periods, you’re all set for success.
So, what are all the reasons it’s worthwhile to provide EV charging as a value-added service?
Responding to demand
E-mobility is booming, and EV sales figures are chasing one record after another. Naturally, this creates a demand for electric vehicle charging. In a survey with Kantar, we found that EV charging availability plays a role for around 85% of EV drivers when choosing a hotel or a supermarket. If your business misses the opportunity to embrace e-mobility, you risk being overtaken by your competition.
Boosting customer loyalty
As we said, customers are already asking for EV charging to be available at their favourite store or hotel. EV charging will retain your existing customers and keep them satisfied while attracting new clientele. Businesses that welcome e-mobility are opening their primary business to an entirely new target group – EV drivers.
Exploring new sources of income
EV charging stations can generate revenue for your business if you decide to set up a fee for charging. Even if you offer EV charging free of charge to your customers, the money they spend for your other services and products while their car is charging will drive your profits up.
Enhancing sustainability and brand image
Integrating EV charging into your business underlines your commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. This positively affects your brand image and can increase the loyalty of environmentally conscious customers who share the same values. A sustainable approach also helps to open up new business opportunities and partnerships.
Prolonging dwell times
When people charge their electric vehicles, they often extend their stay wherever they charge. In an example of a shopping centre, where the average duration of a charging session is 2 hours, each customer could spend an extra 50 minutes of dwell time on your site.
Which industries can benefit the most?
EV charging opens up business opportunities for a wide range of industries, but as a value-added service, it's the most relevant for the following ones:
Retail locations, primarily shopping centres and supermarkets, can significantly increase the number of customers and the length of their stay by providing EV charging, leading to higher sales.
Restaurants, cafes and hotels with EV charging improve the customer experience by letting their guests charge while they dine or stay overnight. Convenience is critical and leads to a more positive perception of the business.
As the mobility landscape changes and petrol sales decrease, traditional petrol stations must find another way to stay afloat. Integrating EV charging stations to meet the increasing demand is one way to remain relevant and diversify their business model.
What better place for EV chargers than existing parking lots, multi-storey car parks and underground garages? Places where cars are parked for extended periods are perfect for EV charging.
Companies with their own fleet of company vehicles can charge their EVs and offer charging for their employees or open their chargers up to the public. Ultimately, this can reduce operating costs and improve the company’s environmental effects.
Key to success
First assessment: The first step is to analyse your customers’ needs and your location’s feasibility. Ask questions like “Where is the greatest demand for EV charging stations?” and “How many customers would welcome EV charging?”
Accessible locations: Ensure that your EV chargers are installed in easily accessible locations to maximise convenience.
Advertising and information: Inform your customers about the available charging stations and the associated advantages. This can be done via your business’s official website, social media or in-store marketing.
Pricing: Consider the overall profitability of your business when setting the prices for charging at your site.
Maintenance and quality assurance: Maintenance work ensures that the charging stations are always reliable and in working order. This is crucial for a positive user experience.
Underline sustainability: To strengthen the company’s image, you should communicate your commitment to the environment and sustainability to your customers.
For many companies and industries, offering EV charging as a value-added service is a win-win situation. It boosts customer loyalty, increases profit and improves brand image.
To conclude, electric vehicle sales are booming. Businesses that respond to this trend not only strengthen their position in the market but also contribute to the promotion of e-mobility.
Virta helps you seamlessly integrate EV charging into your business
At Virta, we have the whole package. Starting with the right charging stations for every use case. Besides the selection, we also take care of procurement, logistics, installation and maintenance.
With our back-end solution, the Virta platform, you get an EV charging software that grants you automatic access to hundreds of thousands of charging stations and EV drivers all around Europe.