January 08, 2020 | Richard Carpenter
Marketing an unattended or lightly-attended car wash can be challenging. Chances are, you don’t have the time or staff needed to implement sophisticated marketing campaigns.
Fortunately, there are effective options that require minimal setup and little, if any, program management. All you need to run these programs is a robust point-of-sale system.
1. Wash Bundles
Instead of selling single washes, consider selling them in a package, such as five deluxe washes for the price of four.
A multi-wash package works much like other prepaids, such as gift cards. When the multi-wash package is purchased, the customer receives a receipt with a code they can use to redeem the remaining washes. When the last wash is used, the customer is offered an option to reload the account for the original purchase price.
This type of offer truly provides a win-win for customers and your wash: They receive a discount on future washes while you secure repeat visits.
2. Upgrades and Upsells
Never sell a wash without offering something more. You can promote a higher-level wash when someone selects a basic option, or you can suggest an add-on service, such as Rain-X or Tire Shine.
The most successful example of this we’ve seen was when the pay station suggested add-on services and provided a video showing how those services worked. It might take a little more legwork to find or create such a video, but the ROI will almost certainly outweigh the effort.
A great way to get customers to come back to your wash is to give them something to come back for. As they complete the transaction for their current visit, allow them to play a game of chance to win a prize. That prize, of course, is a free or a discounted future wash.
If your wash is part of a C-Store, the prize could instead be an item sold in the store. This is a great way to cross-promote your store and wash.
With fundraisers, the car wash pledges to contribute a portion of sales to a certain charitable cause. This requires a little more time investment upfront than the other strategies because you must find an organization (school, scouts, civic organizations, etc.) to work with. However, the returns can be great. The offer usually applies only to the top wash, so as you drive more traffic to your wash, you can also increase ticket averages. Moreover, it’s a great way to give back to the community and build goodwill.
Through the point-of-sale system, the operator designates a certain dollar amount to be donated per wash. When the customer enters the provided fundraiser code, they will see a thank you message. Any wash options that aren’t part of the fundraiser will be removed from the product selection screen. The POS tracks the sales and calculates the amount to be donated by the operator.
Get the Most Out of Your POS
The key to these strategies is a good POS that makes it easy to configure these types of promotions. Make sure you are taking advantage of the marketing capabilities your POS offers to drive higher revenue and growth at your unattended wash.