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Car dealerships and RFID
By Phillip Lawless Managing Editor
Perk is definitely the word when it comes to car dealership “customer for life” programs. Some businesses include these programs with vehicle purchases, and they provide customers with perks such as free oil changes and free carwashes. For dealership-owned carwashes, RFID tags have proven useful in different program models.
Model #1: “Traditionally carwashes at the dealership were for vehicles that the dealer still owns,” according to Richard Carpenter, director of product development with Unitec.These carwashes are accessible to employees only, and they are used for new cars or cars that come in for service. In carwash terms, this is more like a full-service model where an employee on-site handles the entire wash process.
“The RF tag allows [the dealership] to track that customer. They know that the customer has been back, and they can look at wash usage in the ‘customer for life’ program,” Carpenter explained. Here, RFID gives the program response some visibility even though the customers are not actually driving through the wash.
Model #2: Next up, if a car dealership owns a carwash that is available to the public as well as to dealership customers, then it could use the typical RFID system for security. When a tagged customer pulls up, he or she will either be provided a carwash or a discount. For dealerships that have a publicly accessible carwash, the RFID tag on vehicles would be utilized to control the “customer for life” carwash usage by customers, Carpenter noted.
Model #3: In the final model, there may be a group of dealerships owned by a single family or company that have a centralized carwash. Here, RFID allows customers from each and every dealership to use the wash, and the charge back would go to the specific dealership as part of the “customer for life” program, Carpenter stated.
“Maybe it’s a dealer that has different brands and they have four or five locations that are clustered in an area, and there’s a wash at one or a wash located in a central area,” Carpenter said. “They would come from the different dealerships to use a carwash as kind of a perk.”