You may not normally put “point-of-sale” (POS) and “exciting” in the same sentence, but that could well be changing. Leaps in technology are poised to not only change carwash POS systems but advance the industry as a whole.
The carwash POS system of the future is here, ready to deliver simple, streamlined experiences that belie the complex power hidden beneath the surface. Beyond simply handling unlimited plans and payments, it’s also a marketing machine, an analytics and insights engine, a workforce management tool and so much more. As a carwash operator, you will be able to leverage this new technology to achieve levels of growth that were previously out of reach.
Let’s look at some of the most exciting new developments in POS technology and how they will impact the carwash industry in the coming years.
Today, nearly everything lives “in the cloud,” giving you access to everything from music to your bank account anytime from any internet device. Cloud technology uses a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data. This differs from traditional “on-premise” technology, where you have to install and run software on a server/computer in your home or business.
Carwash POS systems have jumped on the cloud technology bandwagon, allowing operators to manage their businesses anytime from anywhere. However, this technology comes with its own challenges. The main drawback is that it’s completely dependent on internet connection. An outage — or even a weak connection — can create unexpected downtime or latency.
Enter hybrid-cloud architecture, which offers the best of both worlds. In this model, key services, such as POS user interfaces, tunnel communications and payments, are driven through an on-premise appliance, with important data being synced to the cloud so you can run your wash remotely and have information easily shared between multiple sites. Carwash operators using a POS with this type of architecture enjoy:
- The speed of an on-premise model combined with all the benefits of a cloud implementation
- Native remote access to cloud services, allowing site management from anywhere and efficient data analytics in the cloud
- Continued operation during times of poor internet connectivity or internet outages
- Integrations with powerful third-party applications (data analytics, tax processing, human resources, time clock, etc.).
Within the hybrid-cloud framework, these POS systems are leveraging edge computing for those key services. The main difference between edge computing and cloud computing is that, instead of processing everything in the cloud where there could be data overload, the on-premise server processes the data locally before sending it to the cloud. This speeds up processing, reducing frustrating delays.
Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix have set the bar high when it comes to delighting users with their software and reducing “friction” in the use of their tools. These companies have conditioned consumers to expect an excellent user experience and personalization with any technology they encounter. As a result, your competition is no longer just the carwash around the corner. It’s every piece of technology your customers use.
This has impacted carwash POS development, compelling developers to take a more user-centered approach and create POS software that is more intuitive and easier to use. Taking a cue from streaming music and television apps, these systems have embraced cross-device accessibility that allows consumers to start transactions from one device and finish them on another.
Moreover, this new POS technology orchestrates more valuable, relevant and personalized experiences. It allows customers to receive the offers that they want when they are most likely to use them and have them delivered in the most convenient way based on their needs.
But the user experience isn’t limited to customers. It is just as critical that you and your staff also have a stellar user experience. The POS of the future is simple to use and configure, empowering your organization to be more productive and agile. You’ll be able to make quick changes to workflows, pricing, wash packages and more to react to business changes.
A well-designed software application also reduces the learning curve, making new employees productive sooner. It reduces costly mistakes and helps employees deliver a better customer experience. All of this leads to higher employee satisfaction and retention.
According to www.bigdata-madesimple.com, most companies only analyze 12% of the data they have. In the carwash, every part of the wash process creates data. However, up until now, operators were limited in what they could do with that data.
New POS technology is changing that. It’s uniquely capable of collecting that data and transforming it into insights that drive consumer actions and growth for your business. You’ll be able to access it in real-time and manipulate it in new ways so that you can move from reactive to proactive and predictive.
Taking that to the next level, artificial intelligence and machine learning will drive automatic actions that will create revenue growth. Imagine a system that not only automatically sends out a coupon during slow times but also adjusts delivery and messaging based on the customer’s profile and performance of previous offers. These are the types of opportunities that the new generation of POS can provide.
The future of carwashing
Embracing this new technology will enable you to lock in loyalty by elevating the customer experience. You’ll discover new efficiencies and maximize your labor. You’ll uncover new paths to profitability and growth that are beyond your imagination.
As the adoption of this technology becomes more widespread, it will create a ripple effect throughout the entire industry. Like the rise of the express exterior model and unlimited wash plans did in the previous decade, this new technology will usher in another era of carwash industry growth.
As the senior vice president of sales for DRB® Tunnel Solutions, Todd Davy empowers the sales team to drive growth for carwash operators. He joined DRB® in 1996 and has worked in various capacities, ranging from support to R&D, gaining invaluable carwash industry knowledge that informs DRB’s® sales strategies and relationships with its customers.