Boosting car wash revenues through mobile technology
by: Alan Nawoj
It’s no surprise that many carwash owners are eyeing mobile apps and mobile technology as an innovative way to reach their customers and generate more revenue for their operations, but understanding what makes a carwash mobile app successful is a critical first step before introducing a product like this to your own market.
Just like not all cars are created equal, not all mobile apps are created equal either, and it’s important to identify what separates the ones that will position you for success versus those that could tarnish your brand and leave your customers frustrated.
Big Opportunity for Forward-Thinking Carwash Brands
When done correctly, a mobile app is a powerful marketing and sales tool that can generate significant revenue for a carwash owner that would be very hard to match with any other form of marketing. Big brands in many industries understand this, and Starbucks, for example, has one of the most successful mobile apps for a business of all time. Despite being around for decades and having a mobile app for just a few years, Starbucks expects roughly 50 per cent of their multi-billion-dollar revenue for U.S. stores to come directly through their mobile app within the next year, which is an astounding number. Wash owners can reap these same benefits on their own scale using similar technology and strategies that are proven to work.
Recipe for Carwash Mobile App Success
Many carwash mobile apps on the market today, unfortunately, are not well positioned for success because they don’t contain the features or customer engagement hooks that offer a lot of value to their end users, nor are they built into a bigger picture marketing strategy for the wash. For example, offering a mobile app to your carwash customers that just offers loyalty reward points, information on your services, or driving directions to your locations is not going to generate the kind of success you are seeking. Most people who download such an app likely won’t use it very much or will eventually delete it because it just doesn’t offer much value. Not to mention, an app must load very quickly, be reliable, easy to navigate, and offer a great user experience, otherwise it will likely meet the same end.
Real-world data has shown that carwash mobile apps that are built on rock-solid infrastructure and have the right set of features can greatly exceed average wash revenues regardless of location. Incentives, entertainment features, fleet account management, and the convenience of purchasing a wash code directly inside the app are just some of the ingredients for a successful carwash app. The right tool for the job can make all the difference in the world, and this type of mobile app can easily be the secret weapon for car wash owners when it comes to boosting sales and staying relevant in today’s digital economy.
The Bigger Picture for Car Wash Marketing
When publishing a mobile app that is branded to your wash, it is also important to work with a company that has lots of experience not just with the technology itself but also with marketing it and getting it into the hands of as many customers and future customers as possible. Clear and effective signage at your wash facilities, targeted online ad campaigns to drive downloads, and use of smart links in strategic online locations are just some of the techniques that lead to a successful app. By recognizing that your carwash mobile app is the most critical asset in your digital ecosystem, you’ll be able to leverage your other digital assets, such as website, social media feeds, review sites, e-mail list, SMS list, and more to drive traffic to this tool. After all, a carwash mobile app is the most active form of marketing available to wash owners today.
Future Carwash Software Innovations
When we look at the trends of the carwash industry and the economy as a whole, it’s no surprise that innovative software and technology is becoming a key differentiator between successful merchants and those that are falling behind. We are also seeing the smartphone become the primary controller for many systems, including the latest vehicles on the market. With this in mind, the carwash owners who embrace mobile technology sooner rather than later will reap the greatest benefits when apps can be used to activate the carwash directly from the vehicle’s dashboard. Sound a bit too far-fetched? These capabilities are already becoming a reality, and it’s a matter of time before they become second nature, much like the ability to order groceries from the comfort of your home.