It’s Time to Embrace Payment Systems at the Car Wash
The car wash industry is a tough business to be in. Competition is eating into operators’ margins, consumer demand is as fickle as the weather, and engaging with your customers is no easy task when you know so little about them.
While we can do nothing to alter the seasons, car wash business owners can increase their efficiency, boost sales and obtain detailed insights on their clientele by installing an integrated payment solution, or point-of-sale (POS) system, across pay stations.
Long gone are the days when customers were happy to fumble around for change to pay for a car wash. Today’s customers expect to be able to use whatever method is most convenient for them, whether that’s cash, tokens, debit card, loyalty card, EMV-enabled credit card payment or via mobile payment.
If you can’t offer a broad spectrum of payment options, you’re going to lose customers and they may never return, so an integrated POS system is an essential part of future-proofing your business.
Around 30% of Americans rarely make cash purchases, and customers who prefer cashless payments are bigger spenders at the car wash. They can choose premium services without the headache of having to find some extra coins to pay for it.
Versatile payment options also increase your chances of attracting spur-of-the-moment drivers who decide to go for an impromptu car wash – if all you can accept is cash payments, you’re less likely to win their business.
The benefits of adopting an integrated payment system
Financial & operational
Using an integrated payment system simplifies the way you manage your business, giving you the ability to track your supplies more easily, obtain useful customer data, and accept multiple payment methods. An integrated system simplifies the entire car wash experience – for both you and your customers.
Enabling contactless card or mobile payments isn’t just more convenient, it will also speed up the transaction process and help reduce the wait time for customers in line. Installation is simple, using software and secure payment solutions that are tailored to car wash operators.
A loyalty program or gift card scheme is a simple, effective marketing tool to boost sales. Using an integrated system makes these easy to launch and manage, rewarding repeat customers with enticing discounts and bolstering your bottom line. You can help strengthen customer loyalty by creating a mobile app where users can buy car wash credit and claim rewards.
A sure-fire way to impress your customers is to speak their language, literally. A POS system comes with multilingual options, including English and Spanish – don’t let language barriers come between you and a sale.
A car wash POS is also your on-site eyes and ears. It can immediately inform you of a payment processing problem or a car wash malfunction. Getting instant notifications of any issues means you can respond swiftly, minimizing disruption for your customers as well as any loss of revenue.
By enabling multiple payment options, you’re reducing the security risk to your business. Less cash in your machines or on your premises makes you less of a target for thieves and vandals. It also means your staff no longer devote so much time to collecting and counting cash, while you can make fewer trips to the bank and have less worries about who you can trust.
Functional, useful data
An integrated system can track loyalty card holder buying behavior, enabling you to better target them with specially tailored offers based on their demographic profile and purchase history. Funneling all customer data through the POS, allows you to obtain crucial intel and insights on your customer preferences that you can incorporate into your sales and marketing plans.
Daily, weekly and monthly reports will show you the relative popularity of each wash package, and you can analyze other factors that influence customer behavior, such as time of day, season and the effectiveness of a particular promotional campaign.
With passenger car ownership in the U.S. forecast to fall by up to 80% next decade, competition in the car wash industry can only intensify. That makes it all the more important to equip your business with the tools you need to attract and retain customers. By installing an integrated payment solution you’ll make the transaction process an easy and enjoyable experience for your customers.