GoGet brings evidence-based data approach to car sharing

Vehicle data, such as geographic information, as well as customer usage data is delivering valuable insights for business growth, says GoGet co-founder Bruce Jeffreys

GoGet co-founder Bruce Jefferies admires one of his company's cars.
GoGet co-founder Bruce Jefferies admires one of his company's cars.

Gleaning insights from vehicle and customer data has been key to the growth of car sharing company, GoGet, according to its co-founder, Bruce Jeffreys.

GoGet has more than 1100 vehicles in Sydney and 200 in Melbourne and nearly 50,000 customers subscribed to its car sharing service. The company collects vast amounts of raw data about its fleet of vehicles and in the future hopes to make greater use of analytics, Jeffreys told CMO . “We’ve always tried to have an evidence-based approach to everything we do,” he said.

One core data asset is geographic information system (GIS) information from its vehicle fleet, which is used to improve customer experience. For example, the data provided an important insight about the seasonality of its service, he said.

By analysing this information, GoGet could see locations where vehicles were most in demand varying by season, such as parking near the beach in summer. With that knowledge, the company was able to adjust its beach parking locations and provide better information to customers to ease pressure in those places, he said.

GoGet has largely relied on network effects to market its car sharing service, Jeffreys continued. With each new car location added, the company attracts new customers.

As a result, GoGet has chosen to keep its advertising in-house rather than outsource to agencies.

“We’re definitely skewed toward employing marketing staff over specific material marketing spends,” he said. “It’s better value and it’s easy to measure.”

The approach also enables GoGet to leap at new marketing opportunities, he said. “As a fast-growing company, that nimbleness is very important.”

Lately, the company has pursued partnerships with major businesses, residential developments – and soon – public transportation providers.

Read more: New CSIRO division to focus on data-driven research

“When we started, it was very much a standalone service and it took a while for people to get their heads around the concept and make the leap,” Jeffreys said. “We’re now really in the integration stage, where the service is bolting into existing infrastructure.”

GoGet recently partnered with Ikea to get vans into its parking lots for customers who don’t have cars. The furniture store brand came to GoGet with the idea, which allows customers to sign up for cars in-store, use them to transport their furniture, and then bring them back to the store when they’re done.

Possible future partnerships with public transportation authorities could bring cars to train stations and allow users to pay for a GoGet membership and public transportation under a single ticket, Jeffreys said.

In addition, Jeffreys wants to open its data to developers of trip planning apps so people can choose to include GoGet cars along with public transportation.

“One of the things we’ve done a lot of work on just recently is make a public API for our back-end booking platform,” he said. This could allow a public transportation trip planning app to include GoGet car locations when it calculates the best route, for example.

Even with the rise of Uber and other hired car and taxi booking apps, Jeffreys said GoGet’s biggest competition continues to be the private car.

“The privately owned car is still incredibly protected, looked after and subsidized,” he said. “Governments continue to provide or build massive amounts of parking for the private car that no other mode of transport gets.”

He also pointed out car manufacturers spends hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing each year. “If you took 10 per cent of that and spent it on public transport, things would be very different,” Jeffreys commented.

He is less keen on peer-to-peer car-sharing models like Car Next Door, in which customers borrow their neighbours’ private cars. “It’s a business model that keeps people owning cars.”

More on utilising data for customer engagement

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and emerging technology for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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