September 14, 2021 | Richard Carpenter
Gone are the days when the car wash was just “that building out back.” As more consumers move from washing their cars in their driveways to going to automated washes, the C-Store car wash has proven to be a major revenue stream.
Just like anything, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Here are some ways to boost car wash revenue and leverage the wash to boost C-Store sales.
Revamping C-Store Car Wash Packaging and Pricing
Often car wash pricing is based on guesswork or by imitating what other washes are doing. A better approach is to structure your packages and pricing based on data and consumer behavior psychology.
Utilizing an enterprise-level management system, such as Director®, is a great place to start. This type of software provides reports you can use to optimize your pricing, promotions and wash packages.
For instance, if the reports show that your lowest-priced package is the most popular, what can you do to push more people to your higher packages? You might consider adjusting pricing or adding services to your higher packages to make them more valuable. You can also see what promotions get redeemed the most so you can duplicate successful efforts.
Applying consumer behavior principles can help you take that to the next level. Our partner Suds™ has conducted a lot of research into what makes consumers select one wash package over another. For instance, they have found that the ideal number of single wash packages is three. When you give customers more than three choices, they often become overwhelmed and pick the lowest-priced wash by default.
Cross Promoting Between C-Store and Car Wash
Your store and your car wash can feed off of each other. If you have gas pumps, the screen should always ask if they want a wash. Consider offering a dollar or so off of washes they purchase at the pump. Your store should also have signs advertising your car wash.
Your car wash payment kiosk can in turn promote items at your C-Store. While customers are waiting for the bay to open, you can have the pay station show videos promoting different C-Store products and specials. You could also run promotions where customers can get a discount on a C-Store item by presenting their car wash receipts to a store attendant.
Keeping Your Wash Up and Running
Every minute that your wash is broken down due to an equipment issue, you’re are losing money. Not only that, if customers find that the wash is often down when they try to visit, they’ll likely turn to a competitor that is more reliably up and running.
Therefore, it’s critical that you find out about equipment issues and get them fixed as soon as possible. This can be difficult if you’re not on site. Consider utilizing an enterprise-level management system that sends you alerts when the wash is experiencing equipment issues so you can get on top of them.
Mine the Gold from Your Car Wash
The car wash is often an afterthought at a C-Store. As you can see, though, it has the potential to be a powerful revenue generator for your business. With a little extra effort, you just may find there is gold in “that building out back.”