Car washes are growing increasingly technologically savvy in many aspects of their businesses. Some businesses offer an app for their loyalty club members or tech-forward RFID chips to track their loyalty customers automatically. On-site, they may use technology to enhance operations, such as hyper-concentrated wash chemicals or 30-day ceramic protectants. They also frequently employ digital signage or light shows in the wash tunnel to enhance the customer experience.
One critical technology innovation many car washes are turning to is an online service menu. This upgrade to your website or loyalty program app can be a significant improvement for your customers, letting them select services right from their phones. This tech-savvy innovation is undoubtedly promising. Is it the right move for your business? Let’s discuss the reasons to consider a digital car wash menu to help you decide.
The Move to Virtual Experiences
If you’ve been to any restaurants lately, you might have noticed some of them recently added scannable QR codes that let you view the menu from your phone. It’s no secret the digital transformation has been well underway for years, and virtual experiences are only gaining more traction as time goes on.
These days, customers bring their phones with them wherever they go. Many companies take advantage of this to add digital, touchless elements to in-person experiences. Creating mobile-first digital content can make in-person businesses more user-friendly and appealing to customers, especially to digital natives like millennials and those from Gen Z.
We do everything from buying things online to paying with our phones when we shop in person, and digital experiences are becoming the norm in practically every industry. It’s driving customers’ expectations for digital integrations wherever they take their business, including the car wash. Looking to the future, 60% of American consumers expect online experiences to become more important than in-person ones. Meanwhile, 85% of consumers believe touchless technology will become more popular.
Businesses are also seeing more success using strategies that engage their customers on and offline. Those with strong omnichannel marketing strategies retain 89% of their customers, compared to just 33% customer retention for companies with weak strategies.
Creating in-person experiences that seamlessly integrate digital elements is becoming more important than ever. While the touchless menu via QR code is already becoming more familiar in restaurants, it is an easy innovation that car washes can adopt. Car washes have been increasingly turning to apps and online customer portals to manage the customer experience.
The Role of Digital Experience in Marketing
It’s also important to consider the move toward digital experiences for customers before they ever drive onto your lot. Besides helping customers when they’re at your business and ready to purchase a wash, having a digital wash menu online can help prospective customers decide whether to come to your business. Among the people who conduct a local search on their smartphone, 88% visit a related local business within a week.
That means customers are increasingly expecting to find helpful information about a business when searching for it online. As such, local businesses and car washes are becoming increasingly technologically savvy in their digital experiences. Besides adding sophisticated wash service menus to their websites, car wash marketing often involves local digital strategies like search engine optimization, text messaging, social media marketing and online reviews.
These tactics are all well-aligned with customers’ expectations. An impressive 92% of consumers read online reviews, and many simply expect to see reviews when they search for a local business. Social media is the preferred channel to share feedback with a company for 31% of customers. Customers increasingly expect to find businesses online, interact with them and receive quick responses on social media, and read reviews from satisfied customers.
The Benefits of Creating an Online Car Wash Menu
An online services menu is a smart option for nearly any car wash, whether you run a large chain or an independently operated small business. That’s because the benefits can apply to any car wash, making them well worth the investment for most operations.
Some of the reasons to consider implementing a digital car wash menu include that they:
1. Are Easy to Access and Decipher
An online wash menu is organized and easy to read. Especially if you work with a skilled web designer, you can ensure a layout, font and color scheme that’s easy to read. If your website is optimized for mobile viewing and accessibility, your customers can easily zoom in on text or even have the information read to them if needed. This allows more potential customers easy access to the information.
Plus, they can access the menu online from everywhere. Customers who don’t want to wait long can arrive at the car wash already knowing what they would like to purchase. They won’t need to stand in front of a sign or talk to an attendant to figure out what they want.
2. Are Visually Appealing and Improve Your Company Image
When user experience design is done right, a digital interface naturally captures people’s attention. On your website or loyalty app, you have the freedom to design a service menu that’s visually stunning. And if you want to make changes to the design, you can easily make and publish them in just a few clicks. Whereas, if you change your printed services menu, you must first redesign it and then have it sent to a printer.
The visual design can also improve your brand by featuring the fonts and color schemes that match your logo and on-site branding. Having a service menu online demonstrates that your business is technologically savvy. Since customers are looking to interact with brands online and want technology integrations that make their lives easier, they’ll appreciate your company has taken the time to design a service menu for its website.
3. Increase User Engagement
Online service menus allow you to add interactive elements such as videos, animations and more. Depending on the design, customers could have the option to build their wash ticket completely from their phones, either before they drive to your facility or while they’re on-site. By giving customers a way to interact with your company digitally, you can deepen their connection to your brand, improving the chances to earn their repeat business.
4. Increase Conversion Rates
The power of a digital wash menu to increase conversions is twofold. First, by revealing your list of services and pricing upfront, people who are searching for a local car wash online can easily see whether you offer the pricing and service options they’re looking for. It makes the decision to come to your car wash easier on customers since they know exactly what to expect when they arrive. They may even come to your facility already knowing what they want to add to their ticket.
Once customers are on your lot, a digital services menu can improve conversions by encouraging customers to increase their ticket size. An online menu makes it much easier for customers to read and understand what services come at which price point. Because of the added user-friendliness, customers are more likely to make larger purchases. Meanwhile, a custom digital wash menu can suggest specific add-on services for a customer based on what they’ve chosen for their base wash service, increasing their chances of converting on these extra offerings.
What to Include on Your Online Car Wash Menu
Once you decide to implement an online services menu for your car wash, ensure it has all the features and design elements necessary to provide your customers a good user experience. A well-designed car wash menu should incorporate:
- Professional language: The language on your menu should be both engaging and professional. Customers should feel excited about choosing your wash while also trusting your facility to do a good job and take care of their car.
- Color theory: Besides aligning the color scheme with your car wash’s branding, it can be helpful to use colors to improve the service menu navigation. When a customer taps a service menu item, its changing color can indicate that the item is selected.
- Branding: Visual consistency using graphics, fonts and colors that match your logo and site design help customers recognize your business when interacting with it online and in person.
- Animations: Animations can bring the digital service menu to life and also aid navigation. Animated graphics can suggest certain items to add to the ticket or show customers where to click to check out.
- Graphics and infographics: An online services menu can do more than just show customers what services you offer. It can also educate customers on what each service does. You can use simple graphics to highlight the different service options included in each wash bundle. Using additional icons for upgraded packages provides a quick visual that makes customers feel like they are getting more for their money. You can also use infographics to highlight statistics about a product, such as a guarantee for a shine protectant to last for 30 days or the cost savings a customer could realize by choosing a wash bundle.
- Videos: Online, you can use videos to increase engagement with your service menu and give customers a visual for what particular services do. For example, on the vacuuming service option, you might show a video of attendants vacuuming the interior or a customer using the self-serve vacuums. A video like this tells customers exactly what to expect as they move through the car wash.
- Design simplicity: When considering all the car wash menu ideas you could incorporate, it’s easy to want to do everything. While your business could very well have lots of services, wash bundles and add-on services, it’s critical to highlight them all in a simple layout. Overwhelming the site design with different text styles and colors or cramming lots of text into a small area can make your service menu hard to read and navigate. If customers cannot see the service menu items they want, they may not purchase them.
Testing Your Online Menu’s Design
Your service menu should go through rounds of testing before and after its launch:
Before launching your new service menu, test it with your own team and web designers to ensure it works as intended. During this process, go over the menu with a fine-toothed comb to catch any mistakes, bugs or other obstacles to a smooth user experience.
Some things to look for during your first phase of testing include:
- The car wash menu is free from typos, spelling mistakes and grammar errors.
- The online checkout process is easy to complete.
- Images are optimized for web and are not too large that they slow loading speeds.
- The service menu loads quickly.
- The menu works as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop.
- The website is compatible with many common browsers.
- All text is formatted properly in the correct font.
- The service menu is easy and intuitive to navigate.
- The content and coding is optimized for search engines.
After your launch, you can gauge your customers’ reactions to continue fine-tuning your menu. Many marketers and web designers use a concept called A/B testing to optimize an online experience, such as a digital service menu. The process involves releasing two different versions of a design and tracking metrics to learn which version garners the most user engagement and conversions.
Since the service menu is digital, it’s simple to adopt this testing approach. However, many car washes choose to release the menu and then make changes to the visuals and layout over time based on their own observations.
It’s also essential to test out the services themselves before adding them to the main service menu. Many car washes use a “limited time deal” or “special offer” to test new value propositions for their service menu. For example, they may add a rain guarantee for a limited time to test how customers respond to it. Or, they may include an extra add-on service to their mid-tier wash package to see if it convinces more basic-tier customers to upgrade. If a short-term promotion succeeds, your business may consider adding it to the permanent menu.
Using Online Car Wash Menus for Upselling Services
The right design for your service menu can help you sell more services and increase your average ticket size. Many design elements on an interactive digital service menu can help you upsell particular services. A popular design feature employed in many industries is to visually highlight and offset the bundled package you’re hoping to target most heavily, such as a mid-level package. By emphasizing that the particular offer is the “best value,” you can ensure more customers consider upgrading from a basic package.
When using this method, it’s essential to add the most desirable add-on services to the package you want to target. If few customers choose the leather conditioning add-on service a la carte, it’s probably not the service that will tempt a customer to upgrade. However, if many customers choose wheel cleaning, waxes or triple foam, these services may be best to add to a higher-tier package to convince customers to upgrade from a basic wash.
Videos and other visual cues can also help with upselling by showing customers exactly what they’re getting with a particular service. They can see the extra suds from a triple foam or a before-and-after of how shiny and clean their wheels and tires will be after a wheel and tire add-on service. Be sure to highlight the benefits and extra value of the higher-level packages or the added value of an unlimited wash club membership.
Another way to upsell more effectively using the menu is to display the car wash menu prices strategically. If a customer is looking for a basic wash with a ceramic protectant add-on service, and they can see that the mid-tier wash package comes with all that plus a tire and interior cleaning for just a little more, they may be more likely to spring for the upgraded bundle. Or if they can easily see that paying for two washes a month costs more than an unlimited wash package, they’ll instantly recognize the added value.
Upgrade Your Service Menu With Superior Car Wash Supplies From JBS Industries
If you’re looking for other easy upsells for your business, consider our Glow Foam Products. Any of our products can help you offer superior value and a wide range of services to flesh out your digital car wash menu.
We also offer on-site marketing materials and are happy to chat about how our products can help you improve your service menu. To learn more or order supplies, contact the JBS Industries team today. Or, browse the JBS Industries blog for more tips on running a successful car wash business.