Car share has become the buzz word of the town; something that is considered to be the product of the up and about, tech-savvy Gen-Z. In the year 2016, the idea of car sharing lifted off with a flying start. The idea of sharing a car ride was indeed out-of-the-box and revolutionary. It was convenient and the idea of simply having a ‘car on-call’ was a great way. No need to worry about finding parking spaces or meddling with insurance premiums for a vehicle that rarely saw the light of day.
In the beginning, there were only a handful of players such as Daimler. Now the list has extended to new entries like Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, and even VW. It seems as though every major automobile player knows the riches that one can expect to find if they dig in the right spot; no one seems to want to miss that. We have been keeping close tabs on the car sharing sphere and here we will be focusing on some of the interesting insights.
The Rat Race: Does Competition Matter?
If you are an entrepreneur planning on taking off the starting blocks and is worried about whether starting late has caused you to miss out, worry not! New entrants are not competing with behemoths of the car sharing industry like BMW or VW. What the new boys are competing against, is the culture of single-car ownership. There is no single car sharing company that can ever be influential enough to turn the tides on an entire population to go for their line of services, freeing up the parking spots.
Take for example the case of Autolib in Paris, which has the complete and exclusive rights on the car sharing services in the city. They have been able to do very little in reducing the number of private cars that enter the city. The best markets are those that have the target audiences already chanting car-sharing and not a car-sharing company to build the need, from the ground up. One solution would be to go for free-floating services that work wonders for large scale economies.
Mobike – a Chinese bike, shines bright in China! This company is revolutionizing the way people move about in the Chinese capital. There is no need for docking stations as the free-floating scooters, bikes and e-bikes are parked on the streets and are ready for the next user to hop on and use it. Several interesting urbanities find this mode to be quick, easy, and extremely convenient. There is no need to find a special parking spot. Simply leave it in a populated area, and another ‘Mobike user’ can hop on.
Days when the taxi services in the city used to be run by a monopoly of car-sharing operators are coming to an end. Cities are now opening up to the idea of multiple vehicle sharing deals which are much more inviting to the idea of free-floating services. If you are someone who runs a car-sharing service, then you would have come to realize that the relationship with the city is as important as the relationship with your customers. To reduce the dependence on private vehicles and increase the dependence on public transport, the cities have reduced the speed limits and deployed autonomous electric shuttle routes. What does this mean for a car-sharing operator? For them to find their niche among the plethora of mobility choices that are available to the city dwellers. We will start to see public and private players collaborating and finding solid footing in the city’s mobility landscape.
Customer Satisfaction Is Number One
Consumer experience is the key to surviving and thriving in the car-share space. Consumers have been molded to expect instant gratification when they are availing a service. This could be them wanting for Google Home to quickly find the album they want to be played or want their food quickly delivered to their doorstep. Everything is about having it quick. This is why consumers will drop your services with the drop of a hat if you don’t meet their expectations. Do not expect brand loyalty, like in the old days, and customers will switch to other service providers if they feel dissatisfied with the service or the direction of the company.
It has become so easy for consumers to simply dissociate with such services and replace them. This is why it is always important to be aware of your customer needs and customer feedback must be on your top agenda. In addition to this, working with other players and collaborating with them in this shared mobility space, will help you build and grow a community of favourable users. It increases your chances to extend work to other cities. It will eventually help in creating a one-of-a-kind urban experience that people find convenient, easy to use, and relatable. This will ensure the company’s customer relationship to be fruitful and inducive.