Excerpt of MyCarma Label report, by CrossChasm TechnologiesEnlarge Photo
In Canadian trials, the MyCarma approach made customers "stickier" for dealerships. Two locations reported "be-back" rates (the percent of customers who returned for a second visit) in the 90-percent range, up from 25 and 40 percent before the trials began.
That means there's a value proposition for dealerships, who purchase the product. The company's first American trials recently began at a Toyota dealership in Atlanta.
Countering the ROI Lie
MyCarma too holds promise for boosting sales of plug-in electric vehicles. It does so by confronting what CrossChasm calls the ROI Lie, described this in its presentation at the Canadian EVVE 2013 electric-vehicle conference last month.
The so-called ROI Lie comes when buyers disheartened by the higher sticker prices of plug-in vehicles tell themselves those vehicles just don't make economic sense.
The so-called ROI Lie, presentation for MyCarma by CrossChasm TechnologiesEnlarge Photo
Because most new-car buyers finance their vehicles, MyCarma focuses on the monthly cost of ownership. It can counter retail buyers' chronic tendency to overweight initial purchase price or monthly payment, and underweight the financial effects of ownership and running costs over the term of the loan.
In the presentation, CrossChasm showed that, the $11,000 cost premium of a Nissan Leaf in Ontario (after incentives) against a Nissan Versa amounted to a mere $7 per month after reduced running costs were factored in.
The challenge is that car payments and fuel costs (or electricity bills) are rarely added together by consumers--and dealers have little incentive to argue with shoppers that they're making bad decisions or overestimating their actual driving needs.
Cost, convenience, and contemplation deficit
Analysis based on a customer's own actual usage data could prove far more convincing than the theoretical benefits enthusiastically discussed by electric-car advocates. Apps like these should be exciting news for electric-car proponents.
Refuting the ROI Lie, presentation for MyCarma by CrossChasm TechnologiesEnlarge Photo
Until now, advocates have tried to counter issues of cost (through public policy incentives) and convenience (infrastructure build-out).
But study after study shows that sales are held back by a contemplation deficit on the part of many buyers. They simply ignore plug-ins because the prices appear far too high--and because they may be unaware of incentives. The same applies to dealers, too.
Vehicular apps may be able to address all of these--particularly the cost perception--by giving consumers relevant, contextual and personalized information.
Buyers who are given useful and relevant information that they trust will generally make better decisions.
Perhaps, over time, a better understanding by drivers of the real costs and uses of their cars could lead them to choose different types of powertrains.
Even if they're more expensive at the outset.