Are ‘Pop Up’ Locations the Future for Van Hire?September 20, 2013
Customer convenience is the key to success for van hire companies. With a diverse customer base that includes individuals and business professionals alike, it is essential that van hire companies can prioritise customer service while still remaining cost-effective. Europcar has been trialling ‘pop up’ locations in London as a new way for customers to hire vehicles, and the concept could set a new precedent for other van hire businesses.
How are Pop Up Locations Used for Van Hire?
Pop up shops are a fairly recent commercial innovation. The concept changes the permanent “bricks and mortar” attitude typically associated with the retail environment and instead focuses on the short-term. Pop up shops use temporary locations to sell products and services, and they are usually open for a period which can range between a few days to a few months. Because of their temporary nature, pop up shops can bypass the costs of building and maintaining a new location. This flexibility means that businesses can use them to promote a brand, test different markets or take advantage of a new location. For van hire companies, a pop up location can act as a more convenient way for customers to pick up vehicles. Rather than paying for large premises to create a new depot, pop up locations can satisfy customer demand in the short-term. Because they are much smaller and can focus on providing vehicles by demand, van pop up locations can exist without any permanent physical presence. Van hire representatives can use a “meet & greet” service to interact with customers.
The Meet & Greet Service
Europcar originally adopted their “meet & greet” service for airport and train station franchises. So customers did not have to worry about walking around a busy city centre with their luggage in tow, Europcar representatives met travellers who had pre-booked a vehicle at a terminal or station. From here, the representative guided customers to their nearby hire vehicle and, after paperwork was filled out, the customer could promptly leave with their rented vehicle. Of course, the service relies on pre-bookings arranged in advance and would not be suitable for ‘drop-in’ customers. However, with the majority of customers using the Internet or phone to make a booking, the meet & greet service proved to be a popular innovation. Europcar’s success in airports and train stations has led to more pop up locations in the city of London, and they have considerably expanded their base of operations.
A Cheap Way to Expand
From a van hire company’s perspective, pop up locations are a much cheaper way to expand the reach of the business. In large metropolitan cities like London, establishing permanent van hire depots in the city centre is hugely expensive, even if the location of a new depot is easier and more convenient for customers to travel to. By using pop up locations, van hire companies can match the demand of customers as and when they need to. They don’t have to pay for a large commercial depot which can house dozens of different vans and vehicles; instead, they use services like the “meet & greet” to supply demand to orders as they need to. The van hire company can either supply the location with the orders for that day or on an individual basis. The ad hoc nature of pop up locations means that customer demand can be fulfilled without incurring the costs and overheads typically associated with running a new depot.
The Future of Van Hire?
The levels of customer convenience produced by pop up locations simply cannot be matched by any other service. Hiring a vehicle from these temporary places is quick and easy for both customer and business. Pop up locations are a cost-effective way for van hire companies to considerably expand their business presence, and their early success could signal the future for vehicle rental services.