What Do Retailers Have To Do With Electric Vehicles?

How Anyone Can Be a Leader in the EV Space

It's no secret that electric vehicles (EVs) are in, and not just Teslas. These days, practically every automaker offers an electric model, and they should! Research conducted in 2022 reports that despite total auto sales dropping below levels seen since 2011, EV sales experienced a record growth of 65% and made a up a total of 5.8% of the new car sale market, up from 3.2% the previous year.1

As shared in a previous POV, Are You Ready for the EV Explosion, the automobile industry is being disrupted, and the winners and losers will quickly become apparent. The way we see it, anyone can be a player in the EV arena (read more on that here), and as the market for EVs continues to expand and the barriers to entry (cost, availability, etc.) recede, we’re sounding the alarm for gas stations, convenience stores, and retailers to make a move.

Imagine building relationships with EV manufacturers and becoming a trusted curator of EV products in your store. You could create a connection point for local makers and community members, offering a subscription or membership-based sales model to promote building a community of EV owners.

The space could be a sustainability hub that offers a vision of a more wholistic, eco-friendly lifestyle with artificial trees that offset your carbon usage by absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen, solar panel parking lots that keep cars shaded and cool, and zero waste grocery and convenience stores.

A big detractor from EVs is the inconvenience of and time spent finding a charging station and waiting for your vehicle to charge. This is a large gap waiting to be filled and begs for a platform of trend-forward and cutting-edge conversations and ideas.

Based on our consumer research on EVs, people are looking for more from their charging stations (think entertainment, retail, and food and beverage options). On top of that, 75% of respondents said they would shop a specific retailer if they offered more EV charging stations (check out the full article here). You could be the name brand known by EV owners as their go-to charging hub that not only charges their car, but also provides a space where charging is synonymous with entertainment, productivity, and convenience.

If you’re up for that challenge, think about keeping your brand values consistent across locations but rotating out experiences and offering community events like drive-in movies where EV customers can charge their car as they watch.

Another option is to be a leading, global partner for offering EV charging stations for schools, businesses, hospitals, shopping malls, and other organizations and businesses. You can be customers’ go-to for when they need a longer charge and want to stretch their legs and go about their daily tasks. You might even think about optimizing parking lots and turning your existing business into valet “ghost charging” stations like the ghost kitchen concept.

Don’t forget about the in-car experience either. And by that, we mean providing services that elevate the in-car experience when customers want to wait in their car while it charges to avoid inclement weather, optimize time, keeps kids occupied, etc.

With the rise in EVs, there’s a huge opportunity for innovative and radically responsible retail, but there isn’t all the time in the world to do it. Sleeping on it might just mean that someone else gets to it before you do.

Our mission is to imagine new possibilities for dynamic physical spaces that connect with an energy-forward lifestyle at the confluence of retail, workplace, entertainment, wellness, and hospitality. We’re interested in elevating EV charging stations from their utilitarian charging function to lifestyle-driven destinations and want to help you find out what this means for your brand. Check out some of our case studies (start here, here, and here) and reach out to TalkWithUs@wdpartners.com to start a conversation.

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