The GeoWash cart is just one technology affecting traditional car wash businesses.

Just as automation and home delivery are affecting retail industries, causing profound changes for vendors of everything from groceries to music, the car wash industry is bracing for changes as well. The good news is that car owners will always want the convenience and quality of a car wash business, and your marketing materials should reflect that need. In this article, we’ll talk about what you’re up against and how you can adapt to the changing technology and needs of consumers.

Industry changes

The car wash industry began at a time when brick and mortar stores were on the rise, and America was becoming increasingly connected by and reliant upon its car infrastructure. The highway system and the growing suburbs helped car wash businesses flourish as a new middle class of consumers desired to keep their vehicles clean.

That system lasted for decades. Then in 1994, a company called Amazon was founded that would change the way commerce was conducted. No longer would anyone have to actually go anywhere to buy books or music. And as Amazon expanded into general retail and even food, every brick and mortar establishment was forced to lower prices to compete. Now, Amazon is the largest internet retailer in the world.

Not only does Amazon sell DIY car care products cheaply, they’ve also created a culture of home delivery and convenience. The mobile car wash industry has sprung up with that consumer expectation in mind. Products like GeoWash take advantage of a car’s idle time in public lots, meaning owners no longer have to spend extra time waiting for a car wash if they don’t want to.

Car wash marketing

Although it seems the deck is stacked against traditional car wash businesses, there are ways to market your car wash that emphasize the benefits of traditional washes, including convenience, value and experience. According to the International Carwash Association, more drivers are preferring to have their cars washed than doing it themselves.

As the established and trusted service providers in this industry, car wash businesses can consider expanding their services and selling additional products to their current clientele. Mobile car wash services and the retail of consumer products represent potentially lucrative add-ons to supplement traditional revenue.

The growth of consumer technology is an opportunity as much for existing businesses as it is for the new startups. Consider, for example, an app that tracks a customer’s location and sends a 20 percent off coupon when they drive within one mile of one of your stores. The possibilities are enormous.

Wolford Communications offers a variety of marketing products and consulting services for the car wash industry. If you’re interested in learning more about getting ahead of a fast-changing industry, get in touch today.