March 08, 2019 | Richard Carpenter
There are few industries that are growing and evolving as fast as the car wash industry. Point-of-sale solutions are growing and evolving right along with the industry, providing greater customer convenience, business management capabilities and marketing features every year.
Here are some trends that are driving that evolution and how the point-of-sale market is responding.
1. Accommodating Evolving Payment Technologies
The way we pay for products and services has changed dramatically in the past 20-plus years. We have gone from using cash for most everyday purchases to relying on our debit cards and barely carrying any cash at all. Now a growing number of people are using phone apps (Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.) and tap-and-go credit cards to complete purchases.
Customers want to be able to use their method of choice anywhere they go, including the car wash. Car wash point-of-sale systems will need to be able to accommodate all payment options effectively.
And then there’s the issue of EMV. While consumers may not be clamoring for this technology, credit card companies are issuing chip cards, causing customers to question whether the places they shop have chip readers and EMV capabilities. C-Stores will want to determine how they can add this capability at their car washes.
2. Multi-Site Management Systems
Just as consumers expect technology to enhance their experience, business owners and managers expect technology to enhance their ability to effectively run their businesses.
Therefore, today’s point-of-sale system must do more than simply process payments. It must provide robust reporting that provides operators the intelligence they need to optimize their car washes and convenience stores. It should help with labor management, consumer data collection and marketing while providing a central management system for multiple sites.
With this in mind, you’ll see POS systems adding more cloud-based business management features, and vendors will need to position themselves as business partners who can strategically set their customers up for growth.
3. Marketing Capabilities
To encourage that growth, C-Stores need a POS system that supports various marketing efforts. They should be able to run car wash-specific loyalty programs and house accounts. They should also be able to set up promotions such as discounts, complimentary washes, fundraisers and specials.
The pay stations should also be customizable to allow the C-Store to brand the car wash with unique messages and promotions. Specifically, C-Stores should be able to customize:
- Car wash pay station overlays that clearly display the brand
- Videos that add a personalized messages to the unit
- Seasonal pay station screens that display different messages and promotions
More to Come
With no end in sight to the growth in the car wash industry, you can bet that the car wash point-of-sale solutions will continue to evolve. Be sure you select a point-of-sale vendor that can keep up with the changes in the industry and meet your specific business goals.