When a vehicle needs fuel, most Americans turn to convenience stores to fill up. While some large stores like Walmart and Costco have gotten into the fuel business, 85% of Americans still use roadside convenience store to stop and fill up. For those stores that also offer car wash services, car wash and gas pump integration can lead to increased buys. With more and more people paying at the pump rather than going inside to pay, this can mean integrating mobile payment technologies at the pump as well.
Car washes integrated into convenience stores not only entice more customers but also increase sales in-store. After all, when is a better time to realize that your car needs a wash than when you are pumping gas? But now, advertisers and convenience stores are taking this integration to a new level through the use of on-pump digital advertising systems.
Like it or not, an increasingly digital society means that we want to be engaged with screens most of the time. Many people look at their smartphones during those brief few minutes during a fill-up. To draw people away from the phones, some stations integrate televisions into the pumping experience. This can provide a useful advertising and marketing tool to make customers aware of other services, including car washes.
Gas Station TV and Outcast are leading this industry, calling their programming “infotainment.” The main feature of these services is to “narrowcast” by enticing customers with, say, the weekly special on that bag of chips or the candy bar. Local businesses are also reaching out to these companies to advertise nearby services, such as banks and restaurants.
Both Gas Station TV and Outcast offer roughly the same programming: short news reports as well as weather, business, and sports news. The key, however, is the offering of digital marketing and advertising specific to the general area or even to the pump. Additionally, GSTV scored an exclusive deal with ESPN while Outcast penned a similar offering with Fox Sports.
Automakers like Ford have taken advantage of this on-the-go advertising with GSTV. The ads run two-fold – one longer ad followed by shorts that are played between the short programming offered at the pump.
However, not all consumers are exactly thrilled. One consumer penned an opinion article on how people often leave their homes to get away from their televisions and the constant tales of woe that invade the news cycle. The programming was the same three clips, stuck in and endless loop, which he found annoying.
Even though some might be less than thrilled, gas pump manufacturers are also leaping onto the integration of car wash buys and television and mobile payments by integrating the technology into the pumps they make. This can mean not only more entertainment while pumping gas – but deciding that hey, the car needs a wash, too.