Can EV chargers influence a customer’s decision to shop with a retailer?
November 7th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

Can EV chargers influence a customer’s decision to shop with a retailer?

The electric vehicle (EV) market continues to grow; sales for electric vehicles hit a new sales record in Q2 2022—recording a 13% increase from Q1. With more EVs on the road than ever before, many retail stores are accommodating the vehicles by installing chargers in their parking lots, with the aim of winning over customers and sales.

A new poll from YouGov reveals that retail parking lots tend to sit near the bottom of the list of where EV/plug-in hybrid owners charge their cars. Just a quarter (25%) of this audience say they typically charge their vehicle at retail parking lots, behind more popular places such as their home (50%), public parking garages (36%), work (28%), and dealerships (28%).

But installing more charging stations at retail lots may help alleviate a few of the current problems people identify with buying an EV.

According to YouGov Profiles—an advanced audience intelligence tool—one in 10 (10%) US adults say one of the reasons they won’t consider buying an EV is because there are not enough charging stations. Notably, 9% say they do not have the capability/space to charge at home, further reinforcing the need for public charging stations to overcome this barrier to EV adoption.

EV/plug-in hybrid owners echo a similar concern on the current public recharging infrastructure: a slim majority (54%) say they are concerned over the availability of EV chargers where they live.

So, can retail stores really build connections and win over customers with charging stations?

The data suggests that charging stations can potentially bring more people through store doors. An overwhelming nine in 10 (90%) of EV/plug-in hybrid owners indicate they are very (54%) or somewhat (36%) likely to leave their vehicle and browse a nearby store while charging their car.

What’s more, there’s strong interest among EV/plug-in hybrid owners in receiving complimentary charging for some form of value exchange with a business. More than half of this group say they would be willing to watch ads (56%) in exchange for free charging.

Over two in five say they would consider it a fair exchange to buy something from a business (46%) or leave a review (44%) in return for receiving complimentary charging. One in 11 (9%) EV/plug-in hybrid owners say they would not do anything for free charging.

By providing EV owners with more options to charge their vehicle—and more options to things to do while consumers wait for their car to charge—retail stores could play a role in expediting the arrival of the electric vehicle revolution - while simultaneously bringing in more sales.

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