The Future of the Car Wash
ast week, I was at the Car Wash Show in Las Vegas speaking about the connected consumer and what it means for the future of the car wash industry. And like so many of the industries I work with, there are massive changes coming their way. Here are some of things I shared about how the next shift in technology is transforming this age-old business.
The car wash industry is a highly fragmented marketplace, but that is set to change as the industry undergoes the next leg in its digital transformation. The fragmented nature is likely one of the reasons the industry has been slow to adopt certain technologies compared to other industry segments but that is changing rapidly. Technology adoption is transforming the front-facing consumer experience and the back-of-the-house operations. Some of these changes are changing the nature of the business, for example, by fostering unlimited wash subscription services, one of the largest areas of growth for the industry. But this is just the start. Consumer facing technologies like license plate readers and digital kiosks will enable a new level of customization, especially important in an environment where labor is hard to find. Technologies like Lidar, used by autonomous vehicles to create 3D maps of their physical environments, are being used to provide greater precision car washes and in the process use less water and few chemicals.
The next big step for the car wash industry is to connect the front-of-the-house with the back-of-the-house. That means connecting CRMs systems with digital kiosks so businesses can deliver a personalized experience at scale. It means gleaning insights from the data exhaust of increasing digitized and connected equipment. And it means using that data to make better informed decisions about things like promotions and staffing.
Of course, these are just some of the changes underway and many are coming to other industries, but I’m excited to see how the car wash industry is beginning to use technology and data to transform and grow.