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VENDING MACHINES.... What's not to love?

Variety is the spice of life and customers enjoy having a variety of services to choose from when they’re at the car wash. Vending can be a great additional revenue stream for a car wash. Vendors take up little space and are cheap and easy to run. A vending machine can be a way to add additional revenue to your car wash. Often you may catch a customer’s eye with vending items and result in an “impulse buy”. If the vending is presented the right way it can be mutually beneficial to the wash selling the item and the customer purchasing it. There can be a good return on many of the products sold and a good range of the correct products may encourage customers to choose your wash over others in the area.

Having a vending machine at your wash gives customers some control over what scent their car smells like or the type of tyre shine they desire. Providing your customers with quality choices and keeping your machines well stocked with the most recent products can be a deciding factor in whether or not they choose your wash in the future.

A basic minimum range of products to offer through your vending should include drying towels, interior cleaners and protectants, fragrances and glass cleaners. It may take some time trying different brands, flavours and versions of these products to find what sells best in your area.

Picking Products

It doesn't matter if a wash offers a paper towel, a cotton towel, a terry towel, a microfiber towel or a nappy, just so long as a towel is available to customers. Any kind of towel is a must-have for customers, so that makes it a vending machine staple.

The next product is a glass cleaner. Since the car has already been through the car wash, the outside of the windows should be clean, but customers want to clean the inside of their windows. There is a range of packaged synthetic towels or paper towels with glass cleaner in them. Some of these cleaners use detergent and require another towel to dry the window after cleaning, while some are ammonia based and dry naturally.

The next product a car wash should offer is some type of interior/exterior protectant. Protectant is available for vending in spray pump bottles and in spray cans of foam. Protectant can also come in packaged sponges that have the protectant inside of them.

The final essential product is a fragrance. Fragrance is available in two types: Cardboard fragrances such as those that people hang on their rear view mirrors and spray pump bottles. Little Trees® fragrances are extremely popular, and it is estimated that the greatest proportion of your vending sales will come from these.

To make the most of your vending don't stick with a product that isn't selling or be determined to sell every last one before you try something different. You may be better off to use a slow moving product as a giveaway and try something else in your vendor. Customers always love getting something for free. Further to this as competition heats up in the industry car wash owners and operators are using vending machine products to offset having to lower car wash pricing to drive sales. If your wash has had to drop prices and/or offer free services, vending machines are a great way to pick up the slack. Like most consumers, many are serious about keeping their car clean and can be loyal to a certain brand. It’s important to listen to your customer requests and stock your vending machines with what they are asking for.

Location, Location, Location

The site and the condition of your vendors can be important as well. If your vendors are close to the change machine or in an easy to spot prominent position you can sell more products, especially through impulse buys. The big mistake that many operators make, is installing the vending machine in the wrong place at the car wash. The location of the machine can play a significant role in its success or failure. The vending machine must be very visible to the customer and in or near the vacuum area of the wash is also ideal. Customers are also more confident to drop their hard earned coins in to a machine that looks tidy and well maintained. Something as simple as replacing old faded tired decals could lead to more revenue and decals are often available free of charge.

Advances and advantages

Another bonus of vending machines is that they can act as a non-stop worker in your car wash, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing customers access to items when there would normally not be anyone at the wash. Further to this they are not an item you will need to put a lot of man hours into fixing. The vending machine has some regular items that need to be cleaned out but overall is low maintenance.

As we move towards the future more and more vending machines are being installed with credit card readers. People are carrying less cash around than they previously did, and the ability to be able to make a purchase without using paper money or coins can lead to more profits. Do you need to have a machine that can read credit cards? Or is your customer base the type that doesn’t mind carrying cash and using it at a vending machine? These are questions you need to ask yourself before making a purchase.

Today, it's rare to see a car wash location without a vending machine. In fact, many washes have multiple machines stocked with a multitude of products meant to drive impulse sales and increase owner profits. Using the newest vending technology available now makes it easier than ever to securely place products front and centre. Owners and operators love vending machines because they generate profits, and they require very little upkeep. Customers love vending machines because of the products and convenience they offer.

Contact our friendly staff at Prowash on (03) 8340 3200 for any further queries on vending machines and our extensive range of vending products.

© Prowash Australia
Author: Prowash
Date Published: 16 February 2016