The “Make it up in volume” Myth

When your best customer is your least favorite customer.

There are times in retailing when your very best customers become your least favorite customers. Like, when what you wanted to sell the most of becomes what you sell the most of: Unlimited.

Don't get me wrong. Unlimited car wash programs can be awesome; and they can work. They can create excitement and traffic and build lots of sales. They are especially great for high-volume tunnel washes that can crank out the volume. However, that can be difficult to do with rollover, self-service washes that don't have the throughput of the bigger tunnel washes. You know this.

But loyalty isn’t about washing more. It’s about spending more.

In other types of retailing where "lost leader" items which are sold at or below cost are used to drive traffic, there is an old joke that you can "make the loss up in volume." What happens, of course, is that "business moves toward subsidy" so the more margin you give away, the more business you do on lower margins. That can be okay, if you can keep lots of your business at higher margins.

Retailing is ‘awash’ with examples of this. Food retailers sell Kraft Miracle Whip below cost 24 hours day and turkeys WAY below cost at Thanksgiving time. And on Black Friday electronics, clothing and discount retailers REALLY give away the markdowns. But they have something we don’t have in the carwash business: thousands of other items to sell and make up the loss.

Another issue in our business is that our most profitable customers =get mistreated by our heavy users. Sometimes there are more lines forming when Unlimited users are stopping by six- or seven- times a month. Lines that can keep full-price customers from making that profitable right hand turn into your car wash if they see -- over even think there will be -- a line. 

I think this is why there is a good case to be made for a customized cell phone app; you can put in a loyalty program, reward customers for coming more often with strategically-focused discounts and offers, including on your vacuums, pet washes and other services.

Targeting your promotional markdowns and moving them around keeps your best wash guests rewarded - and on their toes, looking for the next opportunity to save. I think it is a better use of the profit you might be willing to invest in building traffic and rewarding loyalty.

Plus, contactless payment is easily the single most important issue in retail consumer transactions right now. And a customizable cell phone app (like UWashApp) gives your customers the peace-of-mind that paying without touching a kiosk or keypad can bring them.

You can get more information here. Although the best reason for trying out UWashApp is it makes the consumer feel safer about purchasing with you, the UWashApp helps you run a better, more profitable car wash!