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Boosting sales during the holiday season

October 30, 2013
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Some operators have found that bundling an assortment of products in a gift basket — products which are already sold through their vending machines — can be attractively packed as holiday gifts.  Dave Lawrence, of Water Master Car Wash, an operator with a pair of self-service facilities in rural Utah, rewards his best customers with items that they can use.

“I put together some air freshener, an Armor All sponge, a towel and five tokens — and give them to my best customers,” said Lawrence.  “They think it is as cute as can be,” he commented. “I’ve got about $2 or $2.50 of out of pocket costs in the gift.”

While Lawrence gives them to his best customers as a goodwill gesture, the same packages can easily be assembled and sold at Christmastime. When dressed up with a gift basket, some seasonal cellophane and a festive red bow, this holiday presentation might be the perfect gift for the neighbor who cuts your grass, delivers the local newspaper, or for a hard-to-buy-for relative or friend.

George Brown, who owns and operates two Wally Wash locations in the Oklahoma City area, takes a slightly different approach. Brown bundles 20 carwash tokens, packages them in an attractive silk bag about 3-inches square which he purchases in bulk from the Oriental Trading Company — an online and catalog retailer. He ties the bag with a gold ribbon and affixes a Wally Wash business card which serves as a gift tag.

In essence, Brown says he uses tokens to, “create a gift to give someone who already has everything. These bags of gold sold really well to people whose parents who are seniors.  They want to get a senior into an express carwash because they don’t have to get out of the car, of course they don’t have to tell them that,” continued Brown.

The $20 sale amount seems to work well on a couple of fronts.  It is not a terribly expensive gift at that level, and it can provide two or three carwashes, because the prices for an exterior tunnel wash are $6, $8, $10 and $12.

 He also had requests to make up bags with larger quantities of tokens. “If someone asks for a gift bag with 100 tokens, we’re sure going to make one for him,” chuckled Brown.

Whether you opt to sell tokens only, or a grouping of products, the packaging is key.  While customers may see the value in products such as a chamois, or air freshener, a sponge or tokens — in gift giving the presentation is everything.  Providing a package that can be given to someone as is — thus simplifying the gift-givers day — is critical. 

With a little planning and forethought, decorative and festive baskets can be found inexpensively. Wrapping them in holiday cellophane — also readily available before the holidays — completes the look and helps to promote the sale.

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