How to Develop a Power Bank Sharing App for Phone Charging Business
In a world where low batteries can be a real nightmare for a traveler or a busy commuter, power bank sharing is experiencing as much demand as ever. The shared phone charging business is relatively simple and includes power bank stations, power banks, partnerships with different locations, and a mobile app.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything about launching a shared phone charging business, from doing market research and looking for suitable locations to building a mobile application that will be the primary tool for your customers.
Shared phone charging market
The first power bank sharing startup appeared in China, and the business model has been quickly adopted in the US, Canada, Singapore, and many European countries.
Power bank sharing is just part of a large sharing market: people are sharing cars, scooters, furniture, clothes, and apartments. PwC predicts the global sharing market will reach $335 billion by 2025.
There were 150 million users of power bank sharing services in China in 2019. Despite the COVID-19 hit, the market is expected to grow 50% to 80% in the next few years.
Power bank sharing has become popular for several reasons:
- It’s relatively easy to build and launch a power bank sharing business.
- There’s high demand for power bank sharing in large cities, especially tourist destinations.
- Power bank sharing business owners don’t need permission from city governments as they do for car or scooter sharing.
- Power bank sharing services are cheap and beneficial for customers.
- Mobile apps make the process of renting a power bank automated and convenient.
- The market is far from saturated, and power bank sharing is a great opportunity.
Let’s discuss what you need as an aspiring entrepreneur to launch your power bank sharing startup. Let’s start with the customer journey, business model, and algorithm for a power bank sharing business.
Power bank sharing business model
The main purpose of a power bank sharing business is to allow customers to rent power banks easily and quickly. The whole process of renting and returning a power bank to the station looks like this:
- A user finds the nearest location with a power bank station that has available power banks on an in-app map.
- The user goes to the station. The app shows the number of available power banks and their battery charge percentages.
- When the user comes to the station, they scan a QR code. The app sends a request to the server and a response to the station, which releases a power bank.
- The user takes the power bank and is charged the rental cost. Usually, it’s hourly.
- When the user is done charging their devices, they again use a map in the application to find the nearest station with a free slot and return the power bank.
There are a few possible additional steps to this model, as many power bank businesses encourage users to return lost power banks for a reward.
As you can see, renting and returning a power bank is easy and intuitive. Your main goal is to make it convenient for the user. Two main factors come into play:
- The availability and popularity of power bank station locations
- The convenience and UX of the mobile application
Let’s talk about what exactly you need for your startup to provide the best service for your users.
What you’ll need for your startup
There are five main things you need to launch a shared phone charging business:
- Charging stations
- Power banks
- Mobile app for customers
- Charging station software
- Admin panel
Charging stations are produced in China, so you’ll need to find a reliable vendor and order your stations. One charging station costs $100 to $500, but large stations can go up to $1000.
Power banks usually come with stations, but you’ll need a few more power banks to replace lost ones.
A mobile application for customers is how your customers will use your service, so it needs to work without lag and have offline functionality and a reliable connection to servers.
Charging station software is usually available with charging stations. However, depending on your location and business needs, you’ll need to tweak it.
An admin panel is the backend part of your software that lets you see all information about your users, stations, and power banks. From the admin panel, you’ll be able to provide customer support, manage your business, and see analytics.
Also, you’ll need to take care of permissions if your city requires any and partner with locations to place your charging stations.
It would be best if you placed your stations in popular locations spread around the city. Customers should be able to find power bank stations in:
- Amusement parks
- Shopping malls
- Entertainment centers
- Festivals or conference venues
To improve your service and see where the highest demand is for your power bank stations, you can add a “suggest a new location” feature in your mobile application so users can tag locations on a map and show you where they’d like your power bank stations to be.
Let’s now talk about the features of your application, as it’s the main part of your business model and a way for customers to use your service.
Must-have features of a power bank sharing app
Registration and onboarding
Registration should be as simple as possible. SMS authentication will make registration easy and secure.
To improve the user experience, give your users a small tutorial on how to use your application: highlight the main features and show how power bank sharing works.
In their profiles, your users should be able to find information about previous rentals, credit card details, settings, preferred locations, and more.
A payment gateway will process all payments that go through your app. Many power bank applications implement their internal currency so that users replenish their balances with at least a fixed minimum amount and then use the balance for rentals. This is more profitable for the business as it lowers the payment gateway fees.
Maps and geolocation
The power bank map is the core feature of your app, as customers will use it to find power bank stations, get directions, and return your power banks. Make sure each station is on the map and shows how many charged power banks and free slots it has.
QR code scanner
With this feature, a user can connect to power bank stations and get a power bank.
To turn your customers into regulars, implement a loyalty program and give users bonuses — for returning lost power banks.
Return lost battery policy
Reduce the number of lost batteries by implementing this feature. If someone finds your battery somewhere in the city, encourage them to return it to the nearest station for a bonus.
Shared phone charging is a great business model that is relatively easy to launch and support. It requires less investment and maintenance than car sharing or scooter sharing and can bring significant revenue to its owner. The secret to a successful power bank sharing startup is securing convenient locations and providing a great customer experience. You can ensure a positive customer experience with a mobile application that’s user-friendly and reliable. ChargeEight is one of the most reliable partners in the phone charging field, contact us to get more details.