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Everything you need to know before starting your car-sharing business
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Everything you need to know before starting your car-sharing business

What is car-sharing & how does it work? What's the car-sharing business model? How to launch a car-sharing business? Find out here.

Is it a good time to start a car-sharing business? Absolutely. 

The car-sharing market is booming – it's estimated to grow 20% every year and reach a $20 billion market value by 2032. That's nearly a sevenfold increase from 2022's $2.9 billion valuation. 

Despite app-based vehicle sharing being a relatively new entrant in the mobility ecosystem, it has exploded in popularity. People have been quick to pick up on its convenience and ease of use, especially in urban centers where maintaining a private vehicle grows increasingly costly and bothersome. 

This spells an opportunity for entrepreneurs keen to answer real mobility demand. 

But what is car-sharing and how does it work? What does the business model look like? And what are the first steps for getting started?
Find the answers below. 

What is car-sharing and how does it work?

Car-sharing is an app-based mobility service that allows individuals to rent vehicles on a short-term basis. With this service, users gain access to a fleet of vehicles which are typically stationed throughout a city, ensuring that there's always a car conveniently nearby.

The user's journey and benefits of car-sharing

Through an app on their smartphone, users can locate, book, and unlock the closest available vehicle, as well as pay for their journey automatically by adding payment details, thus providing a seamless experience and quick access to a car. Other common benefits for users include not having to worry about fuel or insurance, as those are included in the price. 

Cities often encourage the use of shared mobility since it helps decongest streets, free up parking, and minimize the environmental impact of private vehicles on the city. Accordingly, public-private partnerships are common, conferring further benefits for users of this type of shared mobility: free parking, free use of bus lanes, and more. 

How does car-sharing work: the business perspective

On the business side of things, the operator is responsible for ensuring that maintenance and logistical tasks for their fleet are taken care of. 

This includes regular maintenance tasks, such as vehicle check-ups, repairs, fuel fill-ups, and cleaning. Also, if you have a free-floating model (where users can leave their cars anywhere), the operator should regularly relocate cars to optimal locations for continued user convenience and reliability.

Beyond deploying and maintaining their fleet, operators also oversee the smooth functioning of their mobility app, as well as take care of user verification, namely, ensuring that the people signing up are who they say they are and have valid driver licenses. Of course, like any other business, customer support and other responsibilities tied to running the operation are a given.

The car-sharing business model

So far, we have listed a lot of expenses – maintenance, management, insurance, IT. Add to this salaries, operational overheads, and buying or renting the fleet itself. How do businesses recoup all these expenses and turn a profit? 

Note: Since car-sharing businesses operate at scale, they should aim to negotiate lower rates with service providers.

Car-sharing businesses make use of several revenue sources. First and foremost, customers are charged for the time/distance use of the car. Additionally, branding and cross-promotion partnerships (e.g. advertising on the car or the app) are often used to secure additional revenue. It may also be sensible to create membership or loyalty programs to ensure recurring revenue, by offering subscribers added benefits, such as access to premium cars or longer reservation times. 

The aim is to have your cars on the road as much as possible, so enterprises typically focus on maximizing vehicle usage and revenue per vehicle. Finding success is about finding balance in a constantly changing landscape – having too few cars may lead to overbooking and dissatisfaction with lack of availability, whereas having too many will lead to inefficient use of resources. 

How to start a car-sharing business

As with any business, launching a car-sharing project requires research, investment, development, and strategy. Let's take a look at each in turn. 

1. Market research

When exploring opportunities for starting a car-sharing business, numerous factors must be considered.

Audience and demand 

Understanding the demographics, preferences, and behaviors of your potential users is crucial. As is determining the level of demand. Some questions you should answer include:

  • Who is my target audience – urban commuters, occasional travelers?
  • What are their demographics? How should you communicate with them?
  • What segment offers the most promise – B2C, B2B?

Competition

Identifying who's already operating in your area and why (or why not) can help you get a better grasp of what works and what doesn't. Some questions you should answer include:

  • Who are my competitors – other car/ride-sharing businesses, public transportation?
  • How can I differentiate my business from others?
  • Has any previous similar business failed in this area – why? 

Legal and logistical considerations

Determining whether there are any legal/practical barriers to launching your operations is a smart thing to do before you invest too much time and money into your project. Consider:

  • What are the legal requirements for operating this type of business in your area?
  • How will you handle insurance and liability issues for your fleet?
  • How and where will you run your day-to-day operations? If you're thinking about going electric – does the area have the necessary infrastructure?

While answering these questions isn't necessarily a prerequisite for launching your business, dealing with them early on can save you a lot of headaches down the road. 

2. Investment

How much capital do you need to launch a car-sharing business? 

It depends most on whether you're planning to rent or buy vehicles for your fleet. While renting is more accessible in the short term, it will take a sizable bite out of your profit. Owning your vehicles is typically the preferred option, as this offers price stability, long-term cost efficiency, freedom of operations, and other benefits. 

To get a ballpark estimate for the starting investment, you should add up the total price of cars (EUR 12,000-20,000 per vehicle), insurance, car-sharing software procurement and maintenance, as well as expected operational overhead for getting started. It may also be wise to put aside some funds for unexpected expenses such as repairs.

3. Development and launch strategy

Securing the vehicles and necessary permits can take a while, and you should account for this. During this time, you should put your plans into practice. Establish maintenance protocols and logistical plans for efficient fleet management. Implement user verification processes and responsive customer support for a secure and positive user experience. 

As to the IT infrastructure, you can save a lot of resources by choosing a white-label IT solution to power your app and dramatically accelerate your time-to-market. Platforms like ATOM Mobility can equip your business with the app you need – all you have to do is customize it

Speaking of customization, don't forget about branding. Create a compelling brand identity and plan for targeted launch and marketing campaigns to generate awareness the moment your business is ready for its first customers. 

Your car-sharing business journey starts here

Now you know how to start a business in this industry – entering this thriving market demands a blend of user-centric strategies and astute business decisions. But the key to success is reliable partners that can guide you in the right direction. 

Get in touch with ATOM Mobility to discover how you can power your new enterprise the smart way.

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32 shared mobility stats from 2023 you should know in 202432 shared mobility stats from 2023 you should know in 2024
32 shared mobility stats from 2023 you should know in 2024

From the rise of ride-hailing services to the increasing popularity of shared vehicles, the industry's landscape is evolving rapidly. This article presents 32 key statistics from 2023 that provide valuable insights into the current state and future prospects of the shared mobility sector, offering a comprehensive overview for industry stakeholders and observers.

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The shared mobility industry has experienced significant growth and transformation in 2023, with various segments such as ride-sharing, vehicle rental, and micro-mobility witnessing substantial changes.

From the rise of ride-hailing services to the increasing popularity of shared vehicles, the industry's landscape is evolving rapidly. This article presents 32 key statistics from 2023 that provide valuable insights into the current state and future prospects of the shared mobility sector, offering a comprehensive overview for industry stakeholders and observers.

General – Shared mobility industry

The global shared mobility market is expanding rapidly, projecting a substantial increase in revenues and ridership. By 2030, it is poised to double its share of urban transport journeys from 2023. Additionally, the number of individuals earning from shared mobility services is forecasted to rise notably. 

In Europe, shared vehicle services demonstrate considerable growth, with an increase in multi-mobility users. At the same time, European cities are the strictest shared micromobility regulators, limiting the number of operators and implementing various rules.

Global

  1. The shared mobility market worldwide revenue was projected to reach US$1.43T in 2023. Statista
  1. Shared mobility is expected to make up 7% of all urban transport journeys globally by 2030, up from 3% in 2023. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. The global shared mobility market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 41.65% from 2023 until 2030. Shared Mobility Market Analysis Report
  1. More than nine million people were estimated to earn an income from shared mobility services in 2023, and the number is forecasted to grow to 16M by 2030. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. In the shared vehicles market, the number of users is expected to amount to 5.09B users by 2027. Statista
  1. The average revenue per user (ARPU) was expected to amount to US$180.90 in 2023. Statista
  1. In global comparison, most revenue from shared mobility is generated in China (US$358B in 2023). Statista
  1. Africa has the strongest income growth from shared mobility services: jobs are expected to increase by 113% from 2023 to 2030. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. Ride-hailing drivers typically earn above the minimum wage in Europe (+37% in Berlin and +91% in Tallinn) and above the wages for jobs with comparable skill levels in Africa (up to +130% in South Africa and Nigeria). Shared Mobility's Global Impact

Europe & UK

  1. There is a significant growth in the use of shared vehicle services, with a 221% increase recorded. Free Now report
  1. The number of multi-mobility users has also grown by 27%. Free Now report
  1. Comparing Q3 2022 and Q3 2023, shared mobility ridership is up 1%, and fleets are down 2%, meaning Total Vehicle Distance (TVD) slightly improved across the board. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Out of 32 European authorities that regulate shared micromobility operations, more than two-thirds have implemented rules on geofencing (26), parking (25), removal or repositioning of vehicles (25), fleet size limits (24), and fleet rebalancing and redistribution (22). POLIS report on How European Cities are regulating Shared Micromobility
  1. Around half of the European authorities limit the number of operators, demand insurance, set speed limits, specify conditions for vehicles and their maintenance, and have instructions for the end of operations. POLIS report on How European Cities are regulating Shared Micromobility 
  1. Juniper Research has ranked Berlin as the leading smart city in Europe in 2023 thanks to its mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) app Jelbi, which incorporates public and private transport. Other cities in the European top five are London, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid. Cities Today

Cars

Shared car ridership has increased significantly, with notable upward trends in Q3 2023. The global ride-hailing market is also projected to witness substantial growth, with increased user numbers and an uptick in popularity over taxis in the United States. In Europe, German cities, led by Berlin, continue to dominate in total shared car ridership. 

  1. Shared car ridership has grown by 22% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. The car-sharing market size was worth USD 2.9B in 2022 and is estimated to showcase around 20% CAGR from 2023 to 2032. Global Market Insights
  1. The biggest increase of car ridership in Europe in 2023 happened in Riga, thanks to the emergence of Bolt Drive. Antwerp saw the 2nd most growth due to the introduction of Miles Mobility Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. German cities continue to dominate the rankings for total ridership per city. In Berlin, there are 30% more shared cars on the streets than in 2022. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. The ride-hailing market worldwide is projected to grow by 6.97% (2023-2028), resulting in a market volume of US$215.70B in 2028. Statista
  1. Ride-hailing services were anticipated to hit a record number of users in 2023, with an additional 6.6M users in the US, representing a 10.1% increase and finally recouping its pandemic-era losses. Insider Intelligence
  1. In the United States, ride-hailing is reported to be used more frequently than taxis, with around a fifth of respondents being occasional users of ride-sharing services. Statista

Electric scooters and mopeds

Electric scooter (e-scooter) ridership has declined, although it remains the predominant shared mobility choice, constituting 42% of total ridership. Moped ridership in Europe has similarly decreased, influenced by exits of key market players. 

E-scooters have emerged as an environmentally friendly alternative, with 10% of rides directly replacing car journeys. Citizen referendums in Paris and evolving regulations in Amsterdam reflect the dynamic landscape of the electric scooter and moped market.

  1. E-scooter ridership has fallen by 14% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. That said, scooters are still the most popular shared mobility transport mode, with 42% total ridership. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Moped ridership in Europe has fallen by 28% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023 due to the departure of some players in key markets. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Electric scooter usage patterns show 10% of rides directly replace car journeys. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. Thus, e-scooters have contributed to a reduction of up to 120M car-kilometers traveled, helping to reduce car-related emissions by an estimated 30,000 tons of CO2e. Shared Mobility's Global Impact
  1. On 2 April 2023, Paris held a referendum on shared e-scooters, and 90% of voters gave their vote against renewing the contract of three shared micromobility companies to operate around 5,000 e-scooters each. CNBC
  1. In Amsterdam, moped ridership has grown by 22% despite new regulations on helmets being brought into effect. Q2 2023 European Shared Mobility Index

Bikes

The global bike-sharing market shows significant growth. In Europe, station-based bikes have increased in popularity. Dockless bikes experienced an impressive surge as well, following the 2023 scooter ban in Paris. Overall, bike fleets and ridership are expanding across major European cities, contributing to a robust Trips/Vehicle/Day (TVD) ratio.

  1. The global bike-sharing market is projected to reach US$12.68 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.71% from 2023 to 2027. Statista
  1. Station-based bike ridership in Europe has grown by 11% from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. Station-based bikes are the second most popular shared mobility transport mode, with 30% total ridership. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. After the 2023 scooter ban in Paris, dockless bikes have boomed 144%. Dockless bike ridership more than doubled YoY in September (x2.5) and October 2023 (x2.3).  Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index
  1. Fleets and ridership are growing across Europe, especially in cities like Paris, London,Copenhagen and Antwerp. The combined TVD of dockless and station-based bikes is a very healthy 2.9. Q3 2023 European Shared Mobility Index

Rolling into 2024

The shared mobility market continues to expand. With ride-sharing and micro-mobility playing pivotal roles, the future of shared mobility appears promising. The insights gathered from these statistics are crucial for understanding the shared mobility market's trajectory and its implications for the broader transportation ecosystem.

Let's make 2024 a year of shared mobility!

Case study
GreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its electric car-sharing businessGreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its electric car-sharing business
GreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its car-sharing business
GreenGo chooses ATOM Mobility to power its electric car-sharing business

“We spent two years developing a car-sharing app in-house. And even after all our efforts it still wasn't half as good as ATOM Mobility's platform.” – Peter Mraz, GreenGo's manager.

Electric car-sharing operator from Slovenia. Operates in 4 cities.

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“We spent two years developing a car-sharing app in-house. And even after all our efforts it still wasn't half as good as ATOM Mobility's platform.” – Peter Mraz, GreenGo's Manager, shares how he found the perfect partner in ATOM Mobility. 

Launch date: May 2021
Country: Slovenia, operates in 4 cities
Web page: https://greengo.city
App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/greengo-by-t2/id1618782932
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=greengo.app 

GreenGo is a green vehicle-sharing company based in Slovenia that currently focuses on electric cars. 

The company's story is unique in that it's a project that spun out from its parent company T-2, d.o.o., a local telecom provider with over 400 employees. T-2's owner was enthusiastic about green mobility and set out to bring his vision to life – and succeeded. Today, you can find GreenGo's Renault Zoes and Twingos, Cupra Borns, and VW ID.3s in four cities – Ljubljana, Kranj, Trzin, and Logatec. 

However, the man who's running the show is Peter Mraz, GreenGo's Manager. While he does enjoy access to the parent company's resources, Peter is single-handedly overseeing the entire project and responsible for its success. 

“I do have backup from designers, legal, accounting and so on. And there are maybe 3-4 people who help manage the cars and maintenance. Everything else – it's on me. Thanks to ATOM Mobility, I have been able to manage everything from project start to launch pretty much on my own,” says Peter.

GreenGo's early challenges

Orginally, the idea was to develop the GreenGo car-sharing app in-house – a decision Peter grew to regret.

“It took us two years to develop the app. Even then, it did the job, but it wasn't perfect and it didn't quite go the way we wanted it to. And even after all our efforts it still wasn't half as good as ATOM Mobility's platform,” he shares. 

Indeed, this ongoing struggle pushed GreenGo to explore alternative options on the market and, after some market research, they landed on ATOM Mobility. ATOM Mobility ticked their two most important checkboxes – it offered the core functionalities they required and offered fast time-to-market. 

Originally“Once we made the switch, we launched in 3 months, though we did already have the cars at the ready, which certainly helped,” Peter continues. 

Admittedly, ATOM Mobility didn't immediately fulfil all their needs. 

“We had a very specific vision and requirements. ATOM Mobility was great, but didn't have everything we wanted when we started out. But the platform is evolving quickly. Their team develops something new every 2-3 months and it's very good for us. Since they develop for other companies, too, we also benefit from the updates. Now, ATOM Mobility has everything we need and more,” Peter says.

Still, early on, GreenGo were facing an uphill battle with fierce competition. Slovenia already had one high-profile electric car-sharing company that had established itself in the market, had more experience, and was well-respected among its customers and the general public. 

What was GreenGo's strategy for finding a foothold in the ecosystem? 

A brilliant idea for entering a busy market 

GreenGo carved out its market share by leveraging a strategic partnership with Slovenian Railways. 

“You see, a lot of tourists arrive in Ljubljana and other cities by train. Either internationally or from the airport. So we started off by placing our vehicles in railway stations, allowing us to be the easy choice top of mind for anyone arriving in the city,” Peter explains.  

To further improve convenience for potential customers, GreenGo integrated ATOM Mobility with a local MaaS platform. This allowed people to purchase credits for GreenGo's car-sharing app through the city's own mobility solution. 

Not only did this solidify GreenGo as the most accessible solution for any tourist who used the city's app to buy a train ticket, it also connected it to all the local residents that use the city's mobility app in their day-to-day. 

Now, you'll find GreenGo in four cities and their customers love them, as suggested by the high app ratings and continuous positive feedback. 

In most of the cities, they're using a station based model – where the cars need to be picked up and returned at certain points. However, in the capital they're currently running a hybrid model featuring both free-floating and station-based vehicle sharing. 

GreenGo expects to have to switch to a fully station-based model in Ljubljana, too, as the city is pulling the brakes on free-floating vehicle sharing. But they're not too fussed, as this model is easier to manage and can be a better choice for a still-up-and-coming company. 

Looking to the future – more vehicle types and a focus on B2B

As any company, GreenGo is eyeing growth and expansion. 

“Our vision is to become a leading force in the sharing economy,” Peter highlights.

Expanding their fleet with different types of vehicles, specifically – electric micromobility solutions – is one of the avenues GreenGo is exploring. 

In terms of business development, GreenGo has an interesting strategy for the upcoming year, namely, focusing on expanding into the business-to-business (B2B) segment with corporate sharing schemes. 

“With B2C, you need a lot of cars, a lot of investment. Electric vehicles are very capital intensive, which poses challenges for a growing company. B2B offers the opportunity to make the maximum from your existing fleet, which will allow B2C expansion later on. Plus, we already have a sort of successful B2B pilot project under our belts,” says Peter, referring to a corporate sharing scheme they launched with their very own parent company. 

They made four cars available to T-2 employees, which they can take out under certain conditions and packages for a few hours, a day, or a weekend. This sharing scheme proved to be very popular among employees, and Peter is certain other large companies will also be keen to test out this modern benefit for their workers. 

With some ups and downs, GreenGo is steadily carving out its spot in the market. 

What would Peter do differently if he had to do it all over again? 

“Choose ATOM Mobility from day 1 and save everyone a lot of headaches and resources,” he laughs. “But, seriously, the time-to-market is so fast, I think you could launch a mobility company from zero in one month.”

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How to develop an effective marketing strategy for your vehicle-sharing businessHow to develop an effective marketing strategy for your vehicle-sharing business
How to develop an effective marketing strategy for your vehicle-sharing business

Mobility businesses enjoy high brand awareness – we see them on the streets daily. But to succeed in the industry, that's not enough. You also need a strong marketing strategy that turns potential customers into paying users. On paper, it's quite simple, but the reality is slightly more complex.

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Marketing in the mobility business is unique because your fleets – be it scooters, bikes, cars, or mopeds – are like a flexible billboard moving all over the city. Whenever someone chooses your service, they essentially parade it around town like a brand ambassador, and even when your fleet is stationary it attracts significant attention as people constantly see it on the streets. 

In other words, urban mobility businesses enjoy high brand awareness. 

Still, for mobility entrepreneurs, this is the norm. Namely, it's an industry baseline that everyone benefits from and it won't necessarily help you gain more customers, outperform competitors, and boost business. 

To do all of those things, you still need an effective marketing strategy that reaches the right audiences and activates users.

Understanding your target audience

Vehicle-sharing customers are diverse, as are their motivations for using the services. Since you're likely operating in a very specific market, i.e. a particular city or region, it's critical to identify and understand your target audience and the different segments to not only reach and speak to the right people, but also avoid wasteful ad spend. 

Determining who you're marketing to will also help you in defining the messaging and channels you use, which are key for successful campaigns. 

1. Differentiating between B2C and B2B segments

The broadest categories are business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). While most people associate vehicle sharing with B2C, e.g. a person zooming on a scooter down a bike lane to make an appointment, the reality is that the far-less-visible B2B segment is thriving with initiatives like corporate car sharing schemes

The messaging for these two – the individual on the scooter and the CEO looking to offer a convenient mobility solution to their employees – will vary greatly. Different pain points, motivations, and use cases mean that you must adapt how you talk to each segment and differentiate between the two from the get-go. That is, if you're looking to target both. 

2. Conducting market research to define customer personas

Whether you're focusing on B2C, B2B, or both, you should research who are the people using/buying your services. The goal is to have your marketing efforts reach the right people, and by digging into the background of your customers, you'll gain an understanding of who they are.

To do so, dive into demographics (age, gender), use cases (how, when, and why they travel), and price sensitvity (how much they spend, do discounts affect their decisions), among other things. Companies often craft user personas by putting all of this information together and creating a profile of the average customer, which they then use to develop their messaging. 

Do note that if multiple dominant categories emerge, it's completely normal to have 2-3 user personas. Plus, these can evolve over time, so make sure to conduct ongoing research and refine it according to new data. 

Finding the right marketing channels

Once you know who you're targeting, it's important to find out where these people are to reach them in the most effective way possible. If your primary customers are college students, you're unlikely to find them on Facebook. 

Generally speaking, we can split the marketing channels into two categories – online and offline. 

Online channels

Nowadays, digital marketing is where the bulk of action happens. 

Social media platforms offer a fantastic opportunity to reach your specific audience, as they typically allow advanced targeting. By narrowing down various parameters, such as location, demographics, and even related preferences (the factors we defined when creating user personas), it's possible to have very cost-effective ads that generally reach the people who are most likely to convert. Collaboration ith influencers is also an increasingly effective strategy.

However, you must carefully consider which platforms to advertise on. B2C content will thrive in places like Instagram, but, if you're targeting CEOs and CPOs for B2B services, LinkedIn may prove to be a better fit. It's extremely difficult to accurately predict which platform will perform best, hence it's wise to have a presence on multiple platforms, and allocate budgets according to observed returns. 

Search engine and content marketing is another avenue worth exploring – think of it as your company showing up as the first result when somebody searches for a keyword relevant to your business, e.g. “best car-sharing in (city)”. This can be paid, where your website or app appears as a sponsored result. Or it can be organic, where you produce valuable content that ranks highly on search engine result pages. 

Organic content may take longer to deliver results, however, it can offer greater long-term return on investment (ROI). For example, if your city is a burgeoning tourist destination, you can create a guide on how to get around the city and include your services as one of the best ways to do so. 

Display advertising is another paid channel and, in essence, it entails paying partners to place ads/banners of your services on their website. For display advertising to succeed, finding the right partners is key. For example, it might make more sense to have your car-sharing service banner appear on a local tourism page or a student club website than a clothing e-commerce store. 

You'll find further digital marketing opportunities with email marketing, referral programs, push notifications and more. With online advertising, experimentation is critical – test various methods and platforms to explore what brings the greatest ROI. 

Offline channels

Offline channels include things such as traditional media (TV, radio, print), outdoor advertising, as well as partnerships and sponsorships. These can complement a strong digital marketing strategy, particularly as it relates to standing out among the competition. 

Fostering brand awareness is its strong suit, as offline advertising typically struggles with driving direct conversions. That is, a bus stop poster may not give you immediate app downloads, but its primary value lies in your business being top of mind when the potential customer is looking for a mobility solution.

Of course, you don't have to – nor should you – go all-in on a single channel. Rather you should dabble in multiple to see what works, and then double down on the most effective channels. 

Allocating ad spend effectively

The goal of any marketing effort is to invest $1 and get more than $1 in return. Working with a limited budget means you must carefully manage your ad spend to get the most out of it. 

First, you should define measurable goals for your marketing campaigns. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to measure the success of your campaign. These KPIs – e.g. app download, website visit, account creation, first ride, user activation – can vary between channels, platforms, and campaigns, however, they should always be conducive to achieving your business goals. 

With clear goals, you can evaluate performance. Investing in various channels and seeing how they perform will provide you with insights about which should be left alone, and which are the more lucrative ones that demand prioritzation.

Still, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Adapt your campaigns to each platform. A video of a teenager dancing around your scooter might do great on TikTok and flop on LinkedIn. 
  • Take into account that vehicle-sharing, and e-scooters in particular, can be a very seasonal industry and your marketing goals should reflect that. 
  • Your campaigns should become more effective over time as you gather more data, so don't get discouraged early on. 
  • Always tackle low-hanging fruits first, namely, the opportunities that give you the most returns with the least amount of effort. 

Effective ad budget allocation is a balancing game that you will get better at with experience. Early on, it's about defining achievable goals and finding the easiest way to reach them.  

Making use of ATOM Mobility's features for marketing

Best-in-class software platforms for mobility, like ATOM Mobility, should offer various tools that help you along in your marketing journey. 

For example, ATOM Mobility can inform your overall strategy with the comprehensive analytics business owners can find in their dashboard. Ride and customer data, statistics and heatmaps, reports and insights can all help you get a better grasp of who is using your services and where. This, in turn, may aid in defining user personas and ensure you don't have to start your marketing from scratch. 

More directly, ATOM Mobility also offers inbuilt advanced marketing tools:

  • Loyalty and referral programs that drive word-to-mouth marketing,
  • Integrated email marketing, in-app messages, and push notifications that help stay top of mind and re-activate existing users,
  • Discounts, promos, and bonus zones that appeal to deal-chasing customers.

This article has mostly focused on customer acquisition, however, retention and activation should also have a prominent place in your strategy. By leveraging your own organic communication channels – your app, email subscribers, social media – you can increase customer lifetime value, boosting revenue at low expense to yourself. 

Level up your mobility business 

A well-executed marketing strategy can elevate your business. Putting one together takes effort and resources, but it can be the difference between struggling to make ends meet and a thriving mobility enterprise. 

So, identify your customers, target them where they hang out, iterate and optimize. And make sure to use tools and platforms that help you along the way.

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7 critical mistakes in micromobility and how to avoid them 7 critical mistakes in micromobility and how to avoid them
7 critical mistakes in micromobility and how to avoid them

As Europe continues to lead the world in shared mobility usage, with fleet sizes increasing across all transport modes, it may be tempting to launch your own vehicle-sharing or ride-hailing business venture. While it’s an admirable idea, it’s not one without risks. Over the years, we’ve seen many shared mobility companies facing challenges and some, regrettably, giving up. With this article, we aim to share our knowledge and experience to help your business succeed in the dynamic micromobility market. Here’s a list of common yet critical mistakes made by shared mobility companies in the early stages, along with our tips on how to avoid them.

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  1. Overestimating the number of rides

Overestimating the number of rides can lead to financial strain and operational inefficiencies. When estimating the number of daily rides you plan to get out of your fleet, be realistic and base your prognosis on usage data. 

Generally, ride averages tend to be way smaller than optimistic entrepreneurs hope. A study by mobility enablement data company Fluctuo can give you an idea of trips taken daily by different shared mobility vehicles in European cities in 2022:

  • Scooters – 1.7 trips/day, 
  • Bikes – 2.9 trips/day,  
  • Mopeds – 1.9 trips/day, 
  • Cars – 2.6 trips/day.

How to avoid: 

Correct estimation of the number of rides per day involves several factors and considerations:

  • Conduct thorough research of the target market, including demographics, commuting patterns, existing transportation options, and potential user behavior;
  • Evaluate the population density of the areas you plan to operate in (areas with higher density usually yield more ride demand); 
  • Analyze the user behavior of similar services in the area – their usage patterns, peak hours, and any seasonal variations;
  • Consider running a pilot program in a smaller area or for a limited time to test initial interest and usage;
  • Assess infrastructure and accessibility, e.g., availability of bike lanes, parking spots, or docking stations, which can significantly impact the usability and popularity of the service.

  1. Starting with an insufficient fleet to cover operating costs

Not starting with a big enough fleet size to cover operating costs is another common pitfall for micromobility companies. Starting with a small fleet can limit revenue potential and hinder the ability to meet demand, leading to customer dissatisfaction. 

How to avoid: 

In addition to conducting thorough market research and pilot tests, as mentioned previously, follow these tips to make sure your fleet size can cover operating costs:

  • Understand the operating costs, including maintenance, charging, staff, and fleet management. Ensure the projected revenue from the estimated number of rides can cover these costs;  
  • Ensure your operational model allows for flexibility in scaling up or down the fleet size based on changing demand patterns;
  • Apply for ATOM Academy to learn from industry experts with experience in launching micromobility services. Their insights can be invaluable in estimating the appropriate fleet size.

  1. Not budgeting all potential expenses

Budgeting for all potential expenses is essential for financial stability, effective resource management, and risk mitigation, all of which are crucial for the success of a micromobility business. Failure to budget for all possible expenses for the whole year can lead to financial instability and operational disruptions.

How to avoid: 

  • Create a detailed list of all potential expenses, including operational costs like maintenance, charging infrastructure, fleet management, staffing, fleet insurance, regulatory compliance, marketing, and administrative fees;
  • Analyze historical data from similar services or markets to identify and anticipate various expenses that might arise throughout the year, including unexpected costs and seasonal variations;
  • Factor in a contingency fund within the budget to cover unforeseen expenses or emergencies; 
  • Conduct regular budget reviews and updates throughout the year. This allows for adjustments based on real-time data, changes in market conditions, or unexpected expenses.

  1. Not being flexible with business models

Inflexibility with business models or the inability to pivot in response to market changes can hinder a company's ability to adapt and grow. It’s crucial for a micromobility service to remain agile and open to adjusting business models based on market feedback and evolving trends.

How to avoid: 

  • Develop a business model that allows for flexibility, scaling, and adaptation based on market demands and changes;
  • Gather regular user feedback – it will enable you to make adjustments swiftly based on user needs and preferences;
  • Integrate technology that facilitates business model adaptability – e.g., with ATOM Mobility software, operators can adapt their fleet for different purposes to find the best market fit. For example, if free-floating car sharing is not the best fit for your city, you can pivot to short and long-term rentals with calendar booking, or offer B2B corporate sharing schemes, etc.
  • Establish partnerships and collaborations with complementary businesses or services to provide flexibility through diversified revenue streams and collaborative solutions.
  1. Choosing the wrong software partner

Selecting the wrong software partner can result in poor customer experience, lower usage, and negative ratings. Even seemingly small system inefficacies can lead to users choosing competitor services instead, so make sure you don’t underestimate UX. Conversely, a convenient and intuitive platform with a wide range of features can help to attract and retain customers.

How to avoid: carefully vet potential software partners, considering factors such as reliability, user-friendliness, customer support, and the rate of new features shipped. Factor in the flexibility of software and whether it would be able to scale with your business when needed.

ATOM Mobility provides all the software you need to launch and scale your own vehicle-sharing, ride-hailing, or digital rental business. In addition to all the core features you would expect, including a customizable rider app and a feature-rich operator dashboard, businesses can benefit from AI-powered vehicle analysis and advanced analytics tools to support informed business decisions.

  1. Not securing long-term permits 

Operating without long-term permits can lead to regulatory challenges and uncertainty, impacting the company's ability to establish a stable presence in the market. Without a stable operating environment, it becomes challenging to plan investments, expansions, or long-term strategies. In addition, competitors might have an advantage in securing prime operating locations or gaining market dominance, making it harder for the company to establish itself.

How to avoid: 

  • Prioritize securing long-term permits to operate, fostering a more transparent, predictable, and sustainable business environment;
  • Proactively address concerns raised by authorities to build trust and increase the chances of obtaining long-term permits;
  • Be prepared to adapt to evolving regulations and work towards aligning the business model with local policies and community needs.

  1. Ineffective management 

Our final tip is a universal one, as weak management can derail businesses of any size or industry. That said, strong leadership is especially crucial for achieving success in competitive markets like micromobility, where a determined and competitive mindset can be a deal-breaker. 

How to avoid: Whether you’re a manager yourself or a CEO looking to hire one, look for these effective management characteristics:

  • Excellent communication skills. Managers must clearly convey ideas, expectations, and feedback to the team, ensuring everyone is on the same page and can work collaboratively.
  • Strong and determined leadership. A strong manager must lead by example, inspire their team, set clear goals, and effectively delegate tasks. They should also be able to motivate employees, resolve conflicts, and foster a positive work culture.
  • Risk-taking and decision-making. Micromobility startups often operate in evolving markets. A good manager must be comfortable taking calculated risks and making decisions under such conditions. 
  • Adaptability and innovation. In the dynamic micromobility sector, managers must be flexible, ready to pivot strategies, develop unique services, and adjust to the rapidly changing market conditions or technological advancements.
  • Customer-centric approach: A successful manager focuses on delivering excellent customer experiences, whether it's through user-friendly apps, efficient service, or responsive customer support. 

Know why micromobility companies fail – and yours won’t

Now that we’ve covered the various challenges micromobility companies face, you are equipped with knowledge and practical advice for avoiding these risks. By carefully addressing these key reasons and taking proactive measures to avoid them, you can enhance your chances of long-term success in this rapidly evolving industry.

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