Ideas to Boost Car Wash Sales

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Hey guys! I’m Mike Berlin with Slam Car Wash Marketing, joined by Nick Kearns from Sonny’s Controls here to bring you six ideas to help you boost wash sales. We decided to tag team this one because Controls and Marketing work hand-in-hand.

There’s a ton of data you get from your POS and some killer features to help you get your messaging out to the consumer. At the center of it is your customer database. Let’s take a look.

1. Texting

License Plate Recognition (LPR) data tells us that 75% of our customers visit us less than three times a year. 58% only come once a year. Texting is a direct communication link to your customers. It’s an extremely effective way to communicate and encourage them to come back more. People talk a lot about email marketing, but most of us would agree that when we get a text, we actually look at it and read it. Text marketing has gotten very easy with Sonny’s Controls.

But how do we get the phone number from the customers, send them texts and boost wash sales?

2. The Loyalty Program

We can prompt a customer when they pull up to the pay station to join a loyalty program and earn points towards a free wash. This is all built into our Back Office software where you can assign different point values to different wash purchases and also determine how many points need to be earned to receive a free wash. Asking customers to enter a phone number at the pay station doesn’t mean you have to have a loyalty program. We can simply prompt the customer to join our techs club to receive deals and coupons via text, making them come back often and boost wash sales.

This also works for a lot of operators. Once we have a database of phone numbers, we can send texts to non-members and give them deals and incentives to come join an unlimited plan or get some type of discounted purchase. We designed it to be easy and fast enough so that an operator can send out messages on the fly. For example, it’s an overcast Saturday and you have time to send a text to all non-members that has a unique one-time use code worth $5 off of any wash purchase. You can do that in minutes right from the back office. This is a perfect way of staying engaged with customers and boost wash sales overall.

You can also send a text automatically when a club plan is purchased. For example, as a customer is riding through the tunnel, they receive a text that thanks them for joining the membership and also has a link to activate their membership online, which prompts them to install your app. No need for additional staff or equipment. The pay station takes care of everything, and your customers can manage their account anytime.

3. Retargeting

When we advertise online or promote an unlimited plan, we typically cast a net to a five-mile radius of your wash. We track to see who engages with the ad and then put them into a different bucket. We start advertising to that smaller audience of warmer leads. Only this time, the ad is a little more direct since we know they’ve already seen the previous ad. Now with phone numbers captured at the pay station, we can pull a list of customers that are not members and send them ads as a custom audience. These are people that I know have been to our car wash but aren’t yet unlimited members.

Not only that, but we can take a list of members and make sure they’re excluded so that we’re not wasting money advertising to people who are already members. Having my customer database in the POS and having phone numbers really helps us remarket to customers effectively.

4. Fundraising

Our fundraising program has been increasing in popularity. Operators that have tried a fundraiser program typically do it more than once. Essentially, we build out a program where you give a group (like a local church) a universal code. When that code comes back to us at the pay station, we track it. Let’s say that we’re going to give the group $2 per transaction. We turn those local groups into sales agents for us and we make it fun and easy for them to raise money for their group.

We run a campaign for six months and at the end we print out the report of all the transactions, total sales and donation percentage. Then, we cut a check. We have them take a picture receiving that giant check and post it to social media. You can build it up to have every church group, scout troop, band or athletic team running around promoting your wash.

5. Smart Digital Ad Campaign

A very powerful way to boost wash sales is to advertise, but how do you know what your return on the investment is? We lean on Sonny’s Controls. We launch our ads on places like Google, Bing, Yelp, Facebook and Instagram. Next, we promote a deal with a button to click. The deal they click then goes to a landing page where we present them the code that they take to the pay station. That QR Code, numeric code, barcode, etc. is tracked by our pay station to see how many times that code gets redeemed. Each code is unique to the ad. This helps us know which ad platform performs the best.

There’s a whole lot more to it but running ad campaigns online with a trackable code that link back to the POS is a great way to boost wash sales. When you are running a promotion for a single wash, for instance, $5 off of your new $25 package, you want to use one-time use codes that way people can’t share the code and abuse it. When we’re running a promotion for an unlimited plan, you can use a universal code which will give you a discount on one of the memberships you offer. You can create those codes right in the back office with just a few clicks.

6. Sales Commission Tracking

Teaching your team how to sell at the pay station in a comfortable, authentic way is very important. If we add a commission bonus to that, how do we track it and make it easy to report each month to our crew? Let’s say we want to give $2 every time one of our employees sells an unlimited membership at the pay station. How do we manage that?

The sales commission system utilizes barcodes. Each employee has their own barcode that you can print on a card or badge that they can have on their person. When an attendant is manning a pay station and makes a membership sale, they scan their barcode which tells your Back Office reporting that this employee sold this membership. Simply run a report for these commissions and submit to payroll.

I hope we’ve given you some new ideas on how to boost wash sales. If you need help, you can call Nick or myself anytime. The crew at Slam and CarWash Controls love helping customers boost wash sales and our mission is to make it easy.

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