February 21, 2023
Apps – they aren’t just for social media and overpriced coffee anymore! While the car wash industry may not have been an early adopter of mobile apps, it’s become increasingly clear that apps can provide immense value to car wash operators and unprecedented convenience for customers.
This is perhaps even more true for unattended in-bay automatic (IBA) car washes. Features of modern mobile apps built for the car wash industry are creating new opportunities that once seemed out of reach for the typical unattended IBA.
Get On the Unlimited Wash Plan Train
Perhaps the most transformational opportunity that mobile apps present to IBAs is the ability to offer unlimited wash plans. Not so long ago, unlimited wash plans were largely facilitated by RFID technology used to recognize member vehicles and automatically open the gate to allow vehicles through. This technology requires a car wash attendant to place an RFID tag on the vehicle’s windshield. This is not feasible for IBAs because they are typically unattended. Therefore, these businesses have struggled to implement subscription plans, missing out on the recurring revenue they offer.
New technology is opening up new options for unattended IBA washes, allowing them to consider adding unlimited wash programs. The mobile app is one of those options. Car wash mobile apps allow customers to make purchases, including unlimited wash plans, from the mobile app. When they arrive at the wash, they can simply scan a QR code at the pay station to redeem their washes.
Be There - Even When You’re Not!
The other tricky part about having an unattended IBA is not knowing what’s going on with your wash. An app can give you visibility to your business anytime from anywhere.
With a mobile app, you can:
- Access real-time, back-end data
- Use app data to establish, monitor and improve upon key KPIs
- Receive alerts and notifications when the wash is down, chemicals are low, equipment needs attention, etc.
Delight Customers, Drive Loyalty & Revenue
A good car wash app can help you improve the customer experience and grow your business at the same time.
An app increases your visibility and brand awareness. When a customer downloads your app, your business is constantly in front of their faces, allowing you unprecedented connection with your customers. The app allows you to delight customers with:
- In-app loyalty programs
- Personalized push notifications
- The ability to quickly and conveniently purchase single washes, subscriptions, prepaids and more without having to interact with anybody or even a pay station
- Provide deals, coupons and referral programs
- Games that keep them engaged with the app and allow them to win free washes
Some apps can even integrate with car wash lighting companies, allowing customers to run a personal light show. Talk about a memorable customer experience!
C-Ya at the C-Store
If your IBA car wash is part of a C-Store and/or gas station, there’s even more to love about a mobile car wash app. A mobile app makes it easy for customers to purchase car washes and gas in one convenient place, even allowing them to start the gas pump right from the app.
Beyond that, there are a wealth of opportunities for cross-promotion, allowing you to combine car wash, fuel and drink promotions to drive traffic. For instance, a customer who comes in for a coffee may see a sign that says “Save $2 off your next car wash. Download our app." You’ve already got the customer in your ecosystem, so why not leverage that to promote other services?
You can have subscriptions for products/services outside the car wash as well, such as a drink subscription. Best of all, you can tie all store profit centers under a single app, saving you time and frustration when trying to calculate financials.
Beacon Mobile offers all of the above and more. It works with a variety of car wash point-of-sale systems, including those offered by DRB®. To learn how Beacon Mobile can transform your in-bay automatic car wash, request a demo.