Car washes represent an opportunity not only for additional revenue and profit streams for convenience-store retailers, but they also can play an important role in cross promotions that increase loyalty and customer spending.
Strong visual marketing displays are always important to capture the attention of customers on the go. Signs at the car wash that remind customers to show their receipt for a discount on retail merchandise or foodservice items in the store can be effective, both at the entrance and exit to the carwash.
Likewise, point-of-sale displays in the store can generate consumer excitement about opportunities to save money on carwashes. Signs at the checkout might remind consumers that the purchase of a signature foodservice meal can earn them 10% or 20% off of a car wash, for example, and signs at the fuel station might offer a free basic wash after 10 or 20 fill-ups.
Leverage loyalty programs
Now more than ever, consumers are seeking contactless, digital ordering and payment solutions, and loyalty programs within mobile apps offer a way for c-store retailers to encourage frequency, boost spending per visit and allow for more personalized, one-to-one marketing.
A simple loyalty program might offer a free car wash after a certain number of washes at the regular price, for example, but it would also behoove operators to cross-promote between the car wash, fuel center, retail store and other services, such as oil change or on-site foodservice programs. Retailers could offer a free pizza after 10 car washes, for example, or a free car wash after a certain number of dollars spent on fuel or on retail items.
By asking consumers to check in at the car wash using their mobile app, or using location-based targeting so that the store is alerted when a customer approaches the car wash, retailers can also target customers with appropriate and timely retail and foodservice offers. These could include text messages alerting them to discounts available on specific merchandise in the store, or combo meal deals such as a free drink with a sandwich and chips redeemable only that day.
Loyalty programs can also be set up with points, so that a certain number of points can be earned for every dollar spent on any of the retailer’s products or services. These points could then be exchanged for specific goods or services, which could include a free or discounted car wash. A customer who earns 200 points, for example, might get a free car wash. Point systems can also be set up to incentivize certain behaviors or to encourage trial—such as offering double points for the car wash after signing up.
Even without a mobile app, simple loyalty punch cards could be used for cross-promotions in a similar fashion, allowing customers to earn a free fountain beverage after a certain number of car washes, for example.
Donations to first responders
Another way to cross-promote during the pandemic might be to appeal to consumers’ altruism by offering to donate a free coffee for a first responder for every car wash a customer buys. This could be promoted throughout the retail store, fuel station and carwash areas, and would also help generate awareness of each of these services.
For more information about opportunities for leveraging carwash opportunities at c-stores, visit www.ncswash.com/.
This post is sponsored by National Carwash Solutions