Groupon and Daily Deals
When Groupon hit the scene back in 2008-2010 it was groundbreaking, the first of its kind and one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies in history. But success attracts imitation and Groupon soon found itself swamped in competition from other brands copying its model and cutting into its customer base.
Today Groupon still has a very large and loyal customer base (the largest in the industry) but there are plenty of other options for daily deals and online coupons including LivingSocial and Amazon Local (though many copycats have fallen by the wayside in the past three years). This expanded marketplace presents interesting opportunities for car washes.
Car Washes and Online Coupons
We’ve written in the past the simplicity and effectiveness of Groupon’s advertising model and how beneficial the system can be for car washes, especially in high-competition areas or during economic downturns and off seasons.
With more options now on the market, car wash operators should take a look at what opportunities are available in their area. Even if you’ve looked in the past and been disappointed, try re-checking now. While it was once true that daily deals or social deal sites like Groupon stuck only to densely urban areas, today their services are much more diffuse and include businesses sometimes 50+ miles from true urban centers, giving outlaying businesses like smaller-town or suburban car washes a great opportunity for promotion and drawing in new customers–or just a more efficient way to run their regular coupons or promotions.
All these sites use “group buying power” combined with email, browser, or app-based listings within the online service to promote your business’ brand or service. People who have subscribed to one of these sites or who may just be searching for a service or coupon in their area will find and see the special coupon (usually steeply discounted, between 30% and 70% depending) and may purchase it. A minimum number of coupons are contractually needed to be bought in order for the deal to be offered (and they typically all meet that minimum) and payments are typically made electronically on the site, rather than at the car wash itself. With a guaranteed minimum number of customers taking advantage of the deal, selling a few hundred or thousand discounted car washes becomes affordable and puts your wash on customers’ minds so they think of you next time they need a wash.
Nuts and Bolts
Costs get built into the service, as most companies like Groupon take a percentage of each coupon sold (eliminating any up-front costs or pressure). They also help set the deal content and take care of the technical side of things, especially coupon validation.
Customers at the window typically produce a paper barcode or code on their smartphones to prove they’ve purchased the service. Operators and cashiers may be able to scan the code with a reader or smartphone camera, or they can physically type the code into a computer and have it validated there.
It’s also worthwhile to note that a visible percentage of customers actually buy the deal and never find the time to use it, making the option even more affordable for first time users (sales without overhead).
If you’d like to learn more about using daily deal sites like Groupon.com to promote your car wash business there are plenty of different tutorials online. You can also check out Tommy Car Wash System’s Instructional Social Media and Social Marketing services.
Tommy Car Wash Systems