Much has been said and written about technology’s tie-in with just about every area of a convenience store’s operations, notably foodservice and the forecourt. However, what is often overlooked is technology’s importance in a retailer’s car wash offering.
Frequently overlooked itself, the car wash presents an immense opportunity for c-store retailers as another profit center. The value-added service is undergoing its own transformation, with technology playing a pivotal role. Notably, many retailers are enhancing their car washes with RFID-enabled and other subscription services, license plate readers, digital payments, and app- and pump-based promotions.
As noted by Mike Mulhern, director of operations for La Plata, Md.-based Splash In ECO Car Wash, which operates at about 50 Dash In stores, car wash technology has come far in recent years. “Equipment is better and smarter, with everyone moving away from labor through technology. Companies that have invested in machines and buildings have done well. Most markets are underserved, with many new washes opening. It’s a gold rush,” he told Convenience Store News.
Better equipment allows operators to wash more vehicles, while new services like subscriptions and mobile apps are driving new and repeat traffic. Valparaiso, Ind.-based Family Express, Miami-based Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, San Francisco-based Loop Neighborhood and Waxahachie, Texas-based Victron Energy are also among the convenience store operators taking full advantage of advancements in car wash equipment to boost their bottom lines.
It’s easy to get caught up innovating in the store and at the pump, but why stop there? Car washes have always offered retailers another revenue stream. Advancements in technology are now making this business even more attractive.