Rollover Car Wash Trends Play to Customers’ Desire for Choice, Appeal and Cost Savings

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Here in the United States, several trends at rollover car washes at convenience stores are helping to attract new customers and make loyal followers of existing customers. One key trend is the availability of combination washes. This offering allows customers to choose whether they want touchless, friction or a combination of both types of washes. 

On average, when given the choice, many customers will choose the wash package that combines both wash options into one package. This makes sense, as touchless and friction washes have different kinds of benefits. Touch-free car washes, which use high-pressure water and car wash detergents to remove dirt and grime found on the surface of vehicles, help to clean the smaller, harder-to-reach areas of the car. Friction car washes, by contrast, use a variety of wash materials (cloth, closed-cell, foam or a combination) to loosen the soils and contaminants, with a final rinse completing the cleaning process. This type of wash is most effective on the large surface areas of a vehicle. Hybrid washes, which seem to offer the best washing experience possible, caters to today’s discerning consumers.

There are other trends afoot in the rollover car wash market that are helping to drive sales, too, including bright lights and car wash clubs.

LED lighting to boost awareness and appeal

Using LED lighting in the perimeter, vacuum bays and wash areas is a popular move that appears to be a smart one, too. The most compelling reason to use LED lighting is the curbside appeal: It gives an inviting look to a car wash and may spur additional traffic in the nighttime.

Beyond the incentives for the customer, there are other business reasons to switch from traditional lighting to LED. While LED lights were more expensive five to 10 years ago, the price point has come down and the up-front cost arguably is no longer an issue. To help counteract any up-front investment in LEDs is the long-term savings. They can save retailers anywhere from 50% to 80% in energy costs. While retailers may not see the return on investment (ROI) initially, they will with reduced maintenance and energy costs in the future, as soon as one to three years after installation.

Also, LEDs last longer than traditional light bulbs, which may need to be replaced as much as once every year. LED bulbs may last 20 years with no additional maintenance. Minimal up-front cost? Long-term energy savings? Minimal maintenance requirement? LEDs practically sell themselves.

Loyalty programs and car wash clubs

Another popular trend is car wash clubs. These monthly subscription services benefit both businesses and customers. They offer support of local businesses and they help consumers save money in the long run—particularly for frequent washers. A type of loyalty program, these services charge monthly fees for unlimited car washes. And there are often a variety of membership options to suit varying budgets. Not only will convenience stores benefit from loyal car-wash customers, they likely will see residual benefits with additional C-store purchases as well. And customers will enjoy the cost-savings from being part of the loyalty club—truly a win-win-win.  To find out more about how car washes offer c-store retailers big benefits anytime, visit

This post is sponsored by Mark VII Equipment

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