The International Energy Agency estimates more than 145 million electric vehicles (EVs) will be on the road worldwide by 2030. This dramatic increase means the need for EV charging infrastructure is more critical than ever.
This creates a significant opportunity for retailers – adding charging stations to parking lots can put you one step ahead of the competition, increase revenue, improve customer experience and promote a green, forward-thinking brand image. Here are some reasons why you should add EV chargers to your shopping center – and some tips on how to successfully add them.
Why Add EV Chargers to Shopping Centers?
Attracting a New Customer Base
There are nearly 1.7 million EVs on the road in the U.S. today. These drivers make up a new segment of sophisticated, environmentally-focused shoppers looking for brands that align with their values. Adding charging stations to your retail location attracts these drivers and converts them into shoppers due to charging dwell times.
An average charge time of 15-45 minutes is a significant amount of time to bring these customers into your store. Research by EVgo revealed that every minute of charging time equaled $1 spent shopping. The same research showed that 80% of EV drivers said that available charging stations influenced their decision to shop with a retailer.
Promoting Clean Transportation
Reducing carbon emissions creates an entirely new market segment for your brand you may not yet be exploring. Attracting more EV users means cleaner air and a commitment to sustainability.
Companies like Whole Foods, Walmart and Walgreens are adding EV charging stations to their shopping centers to promote sustainable transportation and attract shoppers who may want to charge and shop. Aligning your brand with clean initiatives builds a forward-thinking platform for your brand.
Staying Ahead of the Competition
Innovative brands are merging into the EV charging highway early because they see the long-term benefits in this growing customer base. Brands that build customer loyalty with EV drivers first will see the benefits over the long term – those customers are more likely to return to your store again and again. Early charging adopters can turn customer loyalty into a powerful brand relationship through advertising, rewards and increased selling opportunities.
With major brands like Taco Bell, Subway and Starbucks adding EV chargers to their locations, the tide is swiftly turning in favor of clean fuel solutions. The time to add an EV charging station to your location is now.
The Benefits of Adding EV Chargers to Shopping Centers
EV drivers charging their vehicles need something to occupy their time – and shopping is a win-win for these drivers and the brands that supply them with charging infrastructure. Adding chargers to your shopping center means increased foot traffic to your stores and repeat visits from EV drivers who then become loyal customers.
Research from the Fuels Institute shows that more than half of EV drivers earn more than $100,000 per year – attracting EV drivers means attracting high-income shoppers. Additionally, the revenue earned from charging will offset the cost of installing the charging infrastructure.
Improved Customer Experience
Adding EV charging infrastructure to your retail location makes your brand more accessible to EV drivers. That means drivers don’t have to search for a location to charge their vehicle or leave it at home. And with the number of EV drivers growing by leaps and bounds yearly, you are stepping into a growth market.
A positive customer experience starts in the parking lot. Making your customers happy before they set foot in your store will increase brand loyalty and drive sales. You can also use charging stations to advertise products, add rewards, and develop your relationship with the customer.
Positive Brand Image
Adding EV charging stations to your retail location sends a strong message about the type of customers you want to attract. Building your brand with these shoppers also attracts other green-minded shoppers who may not own EVs but want to align themselves with brands that reflect their values.
How to Add EV Chargers to Shopping Centers
Determine the Type of EV Chargers to Install
Various types of EV chargers are available, each with its own charging speed and cost.
Consider your customers’ needs and your shopping center’s location when deciding which type of EV chargers to install. While Level 3 chargers are the fastest, Level 2 chargers are the most common and offer a good balance between charging speed and cost. They also create flexibility in the length of dwell time at your location.
Space can be an essential consideration when choosing charging stations. Dual port charging stations allow multiple EV users to charge at the same station. These can help you save space and accommodate multiple customers simultaneously.
Choose the Right Location
Finding the right location for your EV chargers is critical to adoption by drivers. Install chargers near the entrance or in a designated area to attract customers. A well-marked, easy-to-access location will make it easy for EV drivers to find your charging stations.
EV charging stations need to be easy to see for drivers – choose a location that is well-lit and visible. You’ll also want to ensure your chosen area has adequate electrical infrastructure and security.
Partner with an EV Charging Provider
Partner with an experienced EV charging provider like Miller EV Solutions, who understands all the details of bringing EV charging stations to your shopping center. Including a professional partner can help with the installation, maintenance, and management – you don’t have to be an EV expert when you have a team of experts in your corner.
Miller can also provide valuable insight into customer usage in a way that can help grow your business. This insight includes data like how long customers may charge at your stations. You can leverage this data to better understand your customers and market to them effectively.
Ready to bring EV charging stations to your retail location? Get started with Miller EV Solutions today to attract a new customer segment to your stores.