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Using Car Share Data to Grow Revenue

Second in a five-part blog series on the part that analytics plays in shared mobility solutions.

By Simon Wilson, Chief Scientific Officer, GTS, and Professor of Statistics at Trinity College Dublin.

The relative immaturity of most CaaS (Car-as-a-Service) businesses makes data collection and analysis even more important. Actionable insights will inform decision-making and could mean the difference between the success or failure of a venture. Here are four ways it can work:  

1. Identify Profitable Locations 

Revenue-per-car is a key metric that will determine if you should invest in more vehicles for a particular location or move to another location and see if usage increases there. Incomplete bookings might indicate that a prospective customer changed their mind when they saw the vehicle was located too far away. 

The five-minute walk rule is often used in urban planning, where around 400m is considered a reasonable distance for people to go to access public transport. Depending on the CaaS service (on-street carsharing, car rental, car subscription, etc), customers will clearly go further for a more upmarket/longer-term service, but anticipating an acceptable distance to travel is a useful way to think about ways to optimize per-car value. Some parts of the city/country/continent will work better than others because of demographics rather than distance, which takes us to our second data point. 

2. Target Types of Customer

The demographics of your customer base will start to emerge from booking systems, generating data that you can collect and correlate with publicly available data, such as a census. You might find your target market – 30+ professionals, for example – are clustered around apartment blocks in inner-city areas. 

Internal data will also reveal the type of cars different people prefer, which will inform fleet management. In a more suburban area with families, you might find a market for second cars and more demand for SUVs. Investment in different models from a car range will become strategic and make your propositions more cost-effective. 

3. Incentivise Most Valued Customers 

Data in your systems that identifies high-value customers will also inform growth strategies and more personalized services. Loyalty schemes and special offers will be a way to keep them coming back, providing lifetime value to customers in a way that was never possible with traditional car buying. 

Frequency of booking and vehicle preferences will be key metrics to capture as you profile car sharing, rental, and subscription customers. Offer them upgrades and the chance to rent a luxury vehicle; give them discounts if they are traveling to places where you have another outlet. Throw in free extras – do all you can to give them a great customer experience.

4. Detect Anomalous Behaviour 

As in any business, monitoring wider trends will be important for long-term growth. Data will alert you to market anomalies, dead times of the year, a spike of interest in EVs, more customer sign-ups because of the withdrawal of a public transport service. 

There will always be week-to-week variations, but it’s the bigger-picture trends you need to be able to identify. It may be an indicator of an economic downturn impacting people’s spending power or a competitor taking away some of your business. The goal is to be proactive, not reactive. 

Implementing a data-driven strategy around Car as a Service is something you can begin to do yourself, collecting and collating data from different systems to provide customer insights, but deeper analysis requires market expertise. At GTS, our CaaS platform has built-in analytics and draws on over 15 years’ of experience helping develop ground-breaking car-sharing, rental, and subscription services. 

We have data from every corner of the world demonstrating what CaaS models work best where. Whatever your plan, the chances are we’ve worked on something similar somewhere and can advise on the most effective strategy in terms of location, demographics and revenue-per-car models.  

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Next: Managing the lifetime revenue of vehicles