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5 Ways EV Charging Brings More Business to Your Convenience Store

Convenience stores across North America are building out high power EV charging. Here’s why.
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For convenience store brands, EV charging is about much more than refueling. Adding charging stations opens opportunities to serve a new type of customer; one who spends more time at your site and more money in your store.

Done well, adding EV fast charging to a convenience store location attracts loyal customers who will appreciate your amenities and tell others to visit when they pass your way.  

Here are five specific ways that adding EV charging brings you more business and what it takes to deliver an excellent experience for this new breed of driver.

EV Charging Puts You on (Many) Maps

Adding EV charging puts your convenience store on the map. Not just figuratively, because a charge station means pins in new digital maps, such as charging apps, route planners, and in-car navigation systems.

Hit the right level of power and amenities that travelers want and you turn that potential visitor into a guaranteed charge and, if things go well, a return customer.

EV drivers plan a lot more than traditional fueling customers and maps play a major part in how they select a stop. You want your convenience store to not only show up but to jump out of that map as the perfect place for an EV driver to recharge both their vehicle and themselves in the middle of a long journey.

Location matters more than most other considerations, but EV drivers also weigh factors like power level and amenities. Offer vehicle maintenance options such as air and squeegees, along with clean restrooms, to make your c-store location an even more appealing charging stop.

EV Drivers Stay On-site Longer

The gradual transition to electric vehicles represents more of an opportunity for convenience stores and fueling providers than the threat that some portray.

Why? It all comes down to dwell time.

A study by PDI Technologies, in conjunction with Gas Buddy, found that more than half of c-store fueling visitors are on-site for under 5 minutes. Three-quarters of these visitors leave within 10 minutes. That’s not much time to enjoy your retail store and see what amenities it has to offer.

This is because liquid fueling is an active event that keeps the driver at the vehicle. Once they put the pump handle back and have already paid, it’s a mental signal that the visit is done and it’s time to leave.

Charging an EV is passive. Once the driver plugs in, charging starts and they can move on to other activities while the battery fills. That usually means looking around your store and enjoying the amenities.

Charging also takes longer than a combustion fuel stop for most models, which increases time on-site and makes it more likely that a fuel stop also becomes in-store shopping.

EV Drivers Spend More

According to McKinsey & Company's Future Mobility study, electric vehicle owners who stop to charge at a location with a convenience store will enter at a rate 45% higher than customers using the gas pump.

An even more compelling finding? McKinsey saw the average food spend from EV drivers rise as much as 25%, compared to their combustion-driving counterparts.

Adding EV charging attracts customers who are more likely to come into your store and spend more when they do so.

Keep these customers happy and the long-term benefits of recurring EV charging income also spill over into increased retail revenue.

Charging Aligns With Your App

Starting and monitoring a charge session in-car or via an app offers new paths to turn fuel buyers into retail customers. It offers more touch points to offer that visitor a food or beverage discount, let them know about new products, and pair charging incentives to in-store purchases.

The combination of tech-focused buyers and longer site dwell time for EV drivers is an opportunity for convenience stores.

A 20 to 30-minute charging session is a chance for convenience stores to stoke interest in products and services available at the site. Using a custom app and branded charging station helps c-stores make the most of this opportunity.

Brands that have already started developing charging solutions for customers will inevitably have a jump on their competitors as EV adoption rises. Test the kind of discounts and product offers that

ES Series chargers carry the advantage of a built-in advertising space that comes branded to your convenience store. Use this space to share special offers and to direct your visitors to your brand’s app.

EV Drivers Will Come Back (and Tell Others to Do the Same)

C-store branding has never been stronger, so competing chains are focused on showing visitors what they stand for, then bringing them back for more.

Traditional loyalty programs are being reworked to reward repeat customers and communicate the latest product offerings. When tied to fueling/charging habits, these refreshed programs create a powerful way to reach customers with relevant, personalized rewards and exclusive offers.

EV charging allows convenience stores to learn more about who is charging with them, how long they stay, and what they buy. This offers even deeper insights into customer behavior and the ability to tie charging assets back to revenue generating visits to determine ROI.

As electric vehicles continue to enter the mainstream, convenience store competition will broaden. Just as convenience stores focus on more welcoming facilities, entities like coffee shops and grocery stores are experimenting with energy delivery.

Extending traditional fueling solutions to EV charging stations puts your convenience store brand on the map in many ways. Tying these new visitors to increased revenue and repeat visits through customer loyalty programs helps to demonstrate ROI and feeds the next wave of EV charging installations.

Contact us today to bring rapidly deployed fast charging solutions to your convenience store and start generating revenue from EV charging immediately.

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