Zep Vehicle Care Zone

Insights to manage your car wash business –
helping you make money, save money and run your wash smoothly.

What are Digital Menus?: Expert Merchandiser Aaron Hipple Discusses Car Wash Menu Trends

Posted on 09/07/2017

Technology is changing, and car wash merchandising is no exception to the rule. We sat down with Zep Vehicle Care's expert designer and merchandiser Aaron Hipple to get his take on one of the industry's newest trend—digital menus.  

WHAT IS A DIGITAL MENU?

Aaron: A digital menu is a large outdoor monitor used to display a video version of your menu, as well as any other messages you want to promote at your car wash. The monitor has a weather proof encasement that bolts to the ground and a special display that can be seen in any outdoor condition, including direct sunlight. The unit, which is typically professionally powered and installed, is not a plug and play or mobile unit. Just like digital billboards that you see throughout the nation, I believe digital menus are the future of onsite merchandising for the car wash industry.

HOW DO DIGITAL MENUS WORK?

Aaron: Once the unit is installed it functions much like a traditional TV, but is much brighter and comes with software that can schedule your messages. Most models are equipped with a 6GB hard drive that is large enough to hold several videos. Loading your videos can be done by either plugging a USB thumb drive into the back of the monitor unit or loading the video to a special server. Once your video is loaded a remote allows you to organize, view and set your videos to play. Using the built-in calendar software you can pre-set specific videos to play at certain times/days for an entire year ahead. 

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Step by Step: How to Set Up a Twitter Account for Your Wash

Posted on 08/25/2017

Now that you have set up a Facebook page for your wash, the next step in your social media marketing plan is to set up a Twitter account. Twitter is a great platform to stay up to date with events and news in your community, as well as to stay in touch with car wash trade publications and other helpful resources. When using Twitter, each message has to be 140 characters or less – keep that in mind when you're brainstorming content ideas.

Step One: Go to www.twitter.com

Step Two: In the upper right corner, you'll see an option to "Sign Up." Click this. 

Step Three: Once you click, you will see this form. GO AHEAD AND FILL OUT THE FORM! For your name, it's best to put the name of your wash – for our example, I've written "My Car Wash." 

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Step by Step: How to Create a Facebook Page for Your Car Wash

Posted on 08/15/2017

It's important for your potential customers to be able to find your wash online, and an easy way to do that is by having a Facebook presence for your wash. Setting up a Facebook page for your business is different than setting up a personal page, so let's walk through the steps to putting together a Facebook page for your wash. 

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How to Add a New Offering to Your Car Wash Menu

Posted on 08/04/2017

Experimenting with new menu options is a great way to make sure that your customers are getting what they want, and it’s also an effective way to drive more revenue at your car wash. However, when you are considering making changes to your menu, it is important to follow the right steps to make sure that you see positive results.

Step One: DETERMINE WHAT MAKES A TOP PACKAGE.

When adding a new package, it is best to create a package that will drive as much revenue as possible. Look for products or programs that customers are willing to pay extra for, like protectants or tire applications.

PRO-TIP: This is a great time to reiew any customer requests your wash has received. If those requests would fit well into a new top package, add them! This will help increase your take rate, and your customers will feel glad that you listened to them.

Step Two: Design your new package.

Once you have decided what to offer in your new package, take a moment to think about your package marketing. Instead of giving your new package a generic name, like “Ultimate” or “Platinum,” try something that conveys the value your new packages offers. So, if your new package included Rain-X® and Armor All Professional® Extreme Shine Wax, a name like “Shine and Protect” illustrates the value your customer will receive from this package.

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Car Wash Tips: Elevating The Car Wash Experience

Posted on 07/21/2017

From lights and application equipment to foaming chemistries and polishing tunnels, the experience at your car wash has never been more important. Elevating the customer experience will not only help to differentiate your car wash from the next wash down the street but it also drives customer satisfaction and can influence their purchasing decisions. When done right, your positive wash experience can create opportunities and reasons for your customers to share their experience about your car wash within their network, whether it be in person or within their online network.

Check out the car wash tips below to enhance the experience of your car wash.

LED Lighting

Colored LED lighting that is highly visible from the street is a growing trend that helps attract customers, delight them and keep them coming back. Using LED lighting to not only entertain your customers but also confirm their wash package selection is key to enhancing your wash experience.

Associating a specific light color to a specific product application makes the application of your chemistry pop and also assures customers they got what they paid for in a very memorable way. For example, if you have Rain-X® in your car wash, use an amber LED light placed on the application arch to highlight the color of the chemistry. Your customers will love watching the product as it comes out of the arch! Some products allow for more flexibility. The purple Armor All Professional® Extreme Shine Wax™ looks awesome with purple, red, or blue lighting. Any one of these colors will enhance your customers experience and validate their purchase.

Product applications arches aren’t the only place to use colored LED lighting in your wash. Use a blue LED light on your rinse arch to make your customers feel like their car is getting a thorough rinse. Use a red LED light on your blowers to give your customers a lasting impression as they leave the wash and help communicate that perfectly dry finish.

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Best Practices for Optimal Car Wash Pricing

Posted on 07/14/2017

Think about it – when was the last time you changed your car wash package pricing? If you would like to increase your car wash revenue, one of the easiest ways to do it is by increasing the average amount a customer spends per visit. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this, and a great place to start is to evaluate your pricing. By using these car wash pricing best practices, you can make sure that your pricing isn’t holding your customers back from choosing the best wash you offer.

1. Don’t offer too many packages.

A menu with more than four package choices creates decision fatigue for your customers. If you need to eliminate one of your package offerings, you should consider your package take rates. Most often, the lowest take rate will be in the “middle washes” where value can be confusing. When eliminating a middle wash package, most customers will take the “new middle” package, and very few will choose a lower offering. If you can, stick to three package offerings on your menu – the average ticket for three packages will net better results than four packages, typically by 5% or more.

2. Typically, customers prefer even-priced packages.

Consumer psychology studies suggest that buyers prefer even price points. Use this as an opportunity to easily move odd price points to a higher and even price point. Likewise, if you’d like to discourage customers from selecting a certain package (for example, a lower-value basic wash), you might want to keep that wash at an odd price point.

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How to Market Your Car Wash: What You Need to Know

Posted on 07/06/2017

Marketing is a critical component to helping you make money in your car wash – without it, getting customers in the door of your car wash can be a challenge. When done well your marketing efforts can have a huge impact on your bottom line. 

The first step to an effective marketing strategy is to create a unique brand identity that will set you apart from the competition. According to The Balance, branding is about “getting your prospects to see you as the sole provider of a solution to their problem or need.” The easiest way to accomplish this is to think about your car wash from your target customer’s perspective. What do they want or need and what is the experience you want them to have? When creating or updating your brand, you’ll also want to keep a few things in mind.

  • Make sure that your brand delivers your chosen messaging
  • Engage the emotions of your target customers
  • Ask yourself what value your product delivers. If your value and the desires of your audience do not align, it’s time to rethink your branding strategy.

Once you have determined your unique brand identity, every touchpoint within your wash and your marketing efforts should support your brand promise. They key is consistency and a singular focus on creating the experience you want at your car wash. 

Now, it is time to let the world know that your wash is open for business. There are multiple ways to let customers know that your car wash is open for business including: 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Digital communities can significantly influence your business potential. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can create a lot of awareness for a car wash, and it also helps with customer loyalty. Because the social media influence is community based, it’s best to cultivate a social media presence around your local community. For example, create content that celebrates your local sports team victories and graduations, and share local news. You can also use social media to disperse time-bound coupons and encourage customer loyalty.

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Six Tips to Navigate Customers to Your Top Car Wash Package

Posted on 06/26/2017

Enticing more people to buy your top package is an easy way to increase your car wash revenue. Plus, your customers are getting the most value and the best experience from your top package since your best products are in this package. Your car wash menu is a critical tool for navigating customers to your top wash. Here are six things you can do on your car wash menu to garner more interest in your top wash package: 

1. PLACE YOUR TOP PACKAGE WHERE IT WILL BE SEEN FIRST.

Always put the package you want to have the highest sales where it will be seen first by the customer. People read either from left to right or from top to bottom, so ordering your wash packages from the best to the most basic in the order that people read will gain better results.

2. MAKE YOUR BEST PACKAGE STAND OUT.

Another way to make sure that your customers see your top package first is to make it the most visible thing on your menu. Make your top package significantly bigger, or use bright colors to distinguish it from your other package offerings. Conversely, de-emphasize your bottom or ‘basic’ package to clearly differentiate your top wash from your basic wash. A best practice is to blend your ‘basic’ or lowest-priced wash into the background of your menu. This can be done by removing the outline box around the package, or simply listing the package name and price without including any other details.

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Car Wash Menu Dos and Don'ts with Expert Graphic Designer Erica Brown

Posted on 06/15/2017

Whether you know it or not, your menu is one of the hardest-working employees you have. Your menu is responsible for engaging every customer, showcasing your brand, and explaining the value of your product offerings to your customers. Since your menu is working so hard, you want to make sure that you have the best menu possible. We sat down with Zep Vehicle Care's expert graphic designer Erica Brown to pick her brain on effective car wash menu design.

How many menus do you design a month?

Erica: On average, I design between 50 and 75 menus a month. Our entire customer marketing team designs between 400-500 menus and other merchandising items a month.

What things should I always include in my car wash menu?

Erica: If your wash has a loyalty program, such as a monthly unlimited club, advertise it on your menu! Show the value of your program compared to purchasing single washes. If a single wash is $10, but you can get unlimited washes for $25 a month, it makes sense for anyone who feels they will wash their car more than twice a month to consider going with that option. If your wash is using recognized consumer brands for your products, make sure customers know it. Just like the majority of people will choose Kraft® mac and cheese over generic mac and cheese, your customers will see the value of going with a brand they trust when it comes to the care of their vehicle.

What things should I avoid on my car wash menu?

Erica: Simple is better. Avoid excess information that may not be relevant to your customers. For example, even if your wash uses a high pH and a low pH presoak (and it is an important detail to you since you are in the industry), that doesn't mean your customers will know or care about the difference. If you do want to list each product used in detail, try a "plus" style menu to minimize the amount of information on your sign. List the items in a basic wash, then in the next package, leave those items out and replace with "includes the basic wash". This style of menu helps to easily show what value you are getting with each package upgrade.

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How Can I Increase My Car Wash Revenue?

Posted on 05/30/2017

Whether you are just joining the industry or you have been operating your wash for years, there is one thing that every car wash operator agrees on – the more revenue, the better. Who wouldn’t love to earn some more money?  

When it comes to your wash, there are multiple different ways you can increase your revenue. Knowing your current state, then establishing a goal and a plan to get there are easier than you may think! Read on for some ideas to increase your revenue!

There are three main ways to increase your wash revenue:

  1. Increase the average amount a customer spends per visit.

    Increasing spend per visit (measured by average revenue per car) can be done many ways. Using your auto teller or service advisor to educate on new or better offerings, and ‘buy up’ promotions can help customers learn about and experience higher value wash offerings. Did you know that menu design, package layout, and price point management also impact how much money a customer spends at your wash? By using proven marketing and design techniques on your menu, you can encourage your customers to select your higher value wash offerings, and increase your overall average ticket per car. 
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