The unstoppable growth of the electric vehicle market creates clear opportunities for the businesses making, selling and charging those vehicles.
In September 2020, UK registrations for pure electric vehicles were 184% higher than the same month in 2019. Plug-in hybrids also increased by 139%. Meanwhile, registrations for petrol and diesel vehicles dropped by 21% and 38% respectively.*
When it comes to the future of electric vehicles, UK market direction is clear ꟷ even in a pandemic.
As going electric becomes more mainstream, businesses need to adopt more sophisticated marketing strategies to attract and retain customers.
Digital incentives are versatile, customisable and eco-friendly, making them a natural fit for this market.
Electric vehicles: UK market context
A greener Britain is now inevitable, with multiple market forces combining to create a shift that can’t be ignored.
With the UK Government introducing further taxes and penalties targeting diesel drivers, while offering people an incentive to install electric vehicle charging pods at home, the financial landscape is increasingly nudging consumers towards electric vehicles.
Meanwhile, public concern for the environment continues to rise. A government attitudes tracker from September 2020 revealed that 82% of people surveyed said they were either very concerned (38%) or fairly concerned (44%) about climate change.
Digital incentives are uniquely qualified to strengthen the financial case for buying, leasing and maintaining electric vehicles, while also appealing to the eco-focused mindset of the people making the switch.
So how can businesses operating in this increasingly competitive sector use digital incentives to their advantage?
Customer incentive strategies for the electric vehicle industry
To make the best use of rewards and incentives, businesses need to put themselves in the place of their customers.
What’s going on in someone’s mind when they’re thinking about committing to an electric vehicle?
Well, the chances are they’re nervous about leaving the security and comfort of the traditional fuel infrastructure behind, especially when that’s paired with the cost of investing in an electric vehicle.
That means you should design your incentives and rewards to address these concerns. Do it well and there’s an opportunity to convert customer concern into customer knowledge, allowing them to move ahead with confidence.
Here are the main ways you can use electric vehicle incentives UK consumers will value:
Nudge the numbers. However much someone wants to do their bit for the environment, the maths still needs to work. Most people don’t realise that an electric vehicle can be the cheaper option over the long-term.
You can use rewards and incentives to offset the upfront investment of committing to electric vehicles. UK consumers will welcome a more balanced financial comparison when deciding between electric and petrol or diesel equivalents.
Signpost the support. By offering incentives that link to other parts of the electric vehicle network, you demonstrate the breadth and depth of the community that someone’s joining.
Think partnerships with charging stations or supplementing electric vehicle car tax incentives. UK electric vehicle infrastructure is more established and wide-reaching than many people expect. Help your customers uncover the true extent of what’s out there.
Make it feel familiar. By offering like-for-like incentives such as free charging top-ups, you can mirror the extras that a customer might expect with a petrol or diesel vehicle, while sweetening the financial side of the deal.
It’s a way of getting new customers to feel more comfortable navigating the transition. It also cements the idea that becoming an electric vehicle driver isn’t as different as they may have thought.
So those are the main themes to consider when designing your electric vehicle incentive strategy.
Now for some examples of how vehicle manufacturers, leasing companies, charging companies and dealerships can use digital incentives to attract and retain customers.
Electric vehicle incentives: UK examples
Incentivising trial and uptake
- Encourage customers to take their first step towards an electric vehicle by offering targeted incentives for test drives or a commitment to finding out more.
- If your company offers vehicle leases, use incentives to nudge customers towards electric options over petrol or diesel.
- For companies managing business vehicle fleets, corporate incentives can effectively influence which provider or vehicles get chosen.
- And how about incentivising existing electric vehicle drivers to refer their family and friends to you? It’s a community that’s likely to advocate for what your company does. Tapping into that advocacy can generate new sales leads and further strengthen the ties of those existing customers at the same time.
Incentivising behaviour change and customer loyalty
With over 25,000 charging connectors in over 9000 locations across the UK, driving an electric vehicle is now far more convenient than many people expect.
The reality of needing to charge a car or van still takes some adjustment though. An electric vehicle battery can take 8-12 hours to go from flat to fully charged, which can be off-putting if someone doesn’t understand their options.
There are two main strategies to keep an electric vehicle battery full of potential drive time:
1. Install a charge pod at home so longer charging periods can happen while you’re doing other things.
If your business manufactures at-home charging pods, consider offering an incentive for people to go down this route. With the government offering a centralised incentive, adding one of your own will help make your brand competitive as more people explore this option.
2. Top up your charge regularly (but for shorter periods of time) at a public electric vehicle charging station.
If your company operates public charging stations, you could use repeat incentives to encourage people to top up ‘little and often’ with your brand.
To encourage maximum loyalty, you could even link the value of the reward to the frequency of someone’s top ups. As each person establishes a charging routine, they’ll create a virtuous circle of behaviour and reward.
Protecting and growing your market share in high-demand areas
In London, Birmingham, Glasgow and other cities with ultra-low emission or clean air zones, the market will grow even more quickly and become especially competitive. You can give your business the edge by being smart with the incentives you offer.
While traditional incentives for buying or leasing a vehicle tend to focus on the vehicle itself (like free fuel, for example), versatile digital rewards can be used to offer something that’s more of a treat for the person receiving them.
Pick a reward that offers a choice of brands across clothing, homeware, tech and food to make sure you’ve got something that appeals to everyone.
Electric vehicle incentives for UK businesses
Cost-effective, eco-friendly and hassle-free, here are our top picks of fully compliant digital incentives that can be used at any stage of the customer life-cycle across the electric vehicle industry:
Select is an end-to-end reward platform where recipients can exchange a unique digital code for their choice of retailer gift card or eGift.
Make it personal. Our brandable digital reward platform sends eCodes via email or SMS for recipients to redeem against the reward of their choice.
Get up and running quickly. Our simple, flexible set up is scalable, so it’s easy to reach one recipient or thousands.
Offer names they know and trust. Recipients swap their code for a gift card or eGift from our range of big-name brands.
Delivered digitally, our virtual prepaid cards put the recipient in complete control of how and when to spend their reward.
Provide universal choice. Our virtual and physical prepaid cards can be spent online anywhere that accepts Mastercard ®.
Build brand affinity. We’ll create a fully customised campaign by adding your branding to your cards, emails and supporting website.
Create incentives for multiple markets. We can distribute single-use or reloadable cards throughout Europe.
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*Figures taken from www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/