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Sunshine’s Success with Subscriptions

28/03/2021


Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, based in South Florida, was incredibly proud to rank in twentieth place on CSP’s 2020 list of leading convenience store retailers by store count in 2020, yet they are now even more delighted with the success of their car wash subscription program, which they launched just two months ago.

As one of the world’s first car wash retailers to offer a subscription program for unlimited car washing in their Max Car Wash sites, Sunshine Gasoline has joined other national and global industry leaders in launching a product they believe “their customers wanted all along”, given its effectiveness in making car washing quicker, easier and even safer for customers who love the contactless concept.

We recently chatted to Eddy Alvarez, Senior Operations Manager at Sunshine Gasoline, who shared his insights, motivations and delight in their market-leading launch, something he said they had wanted for some time, and now that it’s live, he tells us that it’s performing “even better than expected”.

Eddy Alvarez – Senior Operations Manager at Sunshine Gasoline Inc.

So Why Subscription?

  1. Eddy knows that customers want to wash their car as quickly and as easily as possible, so they love anything that reduces the steps needed along the way. By removing the need to go in store to buy a car wash code, customers can immediately head to the car wash to start.
  2. Customers love the idea of “unlimited” benefits, so being the first to offer unlimited car washing in Florida is a powerful idea.
  3. Customers with unlimited subscriptions will visit the forecourt more often, so Eddy and the Max Car Wash team know there is likely to be more cross-sell and up-sell from car wash subscribers than customers who only wash from time to time.
  4. With Covid19 concerns, customers now want to wash their cars safely – so the operational benefit of contactless car washing for subscribers is hugely re-assuring.
  5. For Max Car Wash, this is the first time they have ever had the opportunity for reliable recurring revenue. This business model is equally popular with management and with customers who like to control their costs and enjoy great value.
  6. Most importantly, Max Car Wash wants its customers to ALWAYS and ONLY wash their cars with them. Clearly, subscribers will never go to any other car wash service once they’ve subscribed to one, so the Max Car Wash team is excited to now realistically expect 100% share of their customer’s car wash spend each month!

Max Car Wash is the first operator in Florida to offer unlimited car washing to subscribers.

Family Values

Eddy shared with us the vision and values that Sunshine Gasoline embodies – a company established in 1987 and growing with the South Florida community ever since. The company was founded by his father, owner and President, Maximo Alvarez, and he is now supported by his family, each of whom takes a distinct leadership role in the company in order to drive growth. Altogether, the firm supplies over five hundred gas stations with fuel, stations that operate under one of five leading fuel retail brands – Chevron, Shell, Exxon, Mobil or Marathon. As part of those retail locations, Max Car Wash operates about a hundred car wash sites, with the subscription product available in thirty locations so far.

Many of these brands operate their own loyalty programs, supported by Sunshine store owners and operators, so this is the first time that Sunshine has itself launched a digital app for consumers, focused exclusively on its car wash business.

Eddy shared their vision to ensure everyone within and affiliated with the company are also treated like family, an idea he says which has helped build great loyalty with their team over the years.

Secrets to Success

Max Car Wash knew that the idea of unlimited car washing for a fixed monthly fee would be a hit with consumers, however they also knew how important it would be to operate this product seamlessly, in a way that would remove friction from the process, not complicate it.

Eddy was determined that the new digital app would be easy to understand, extremely user friendly and a product that would simplify car washing for their customers. In fact, one of the key success factors for the concept was that the management team in Max Car Wash agreed they would all use this themselves personally. Like any successful retailer, Eddy keeps a clear focus on concepts that appeal to him as a consumer, so long before the subscription product was launched, Eddy and the Max Car Wash team wanted it for themselves, and knew that their customers would love it too.

The image below below shows how effectively this has been achieved – eliminating the need for customers to park and go in store for a car wash code, so they can get straight to washing their car.

Max Car Wash users simply download the app, choose a monthly subscription package and use it at the Max Car Wash subscription sites. The app gives customers a completely contactless car wash experience from start to finish, ensuring extreme convenience!

The Max Car Wash app is designed to be extremely clear and simple for customers.

From the original idea and decision to build a subscription option for customers, Eddy shared that it took a number of years to find the complete digital solution and car wash industry expertise that they eventually found in the Liquid Barcodes platform which boasts unique subscription functionality, and is already powering car wash programs for other industry leaders in several global markets.

Along with subscriptions, the Max Car Wash app includes exciting features such as auto renewal, the ability to share car wash gift vouchers with friends and family, incentivizing app users to recruit their friends, locate their nearest store and enjoy a chance to win free car washes through exciting digital games with personalized rewards every time they use the app.

The Story So Far

Since launching the subscription program in January 2021, Eddy said the results have been “very well received by both customers and management”. Even though it’s the first time the business is using memberships, they realised the importance of adapting to customers needs, in particular, they see the immediate appeal of this new product with younger customers who love mobile apps that make their lives easier.

These customers realise the great value on offer, the simplified approach in the station, as well as the extra peace-of-mind avoiding any contact in the store, so the product is proving to be the right approach for customers throughout the state.

The Max Car Wash team has even noticed how much busier its car wash sites seem to be compared with competing sites in the neighborhood, anecdotal yet powerful reassurance that they are finding ways to delight customers that other stores have yet to implement.

We can’t wait to see this story unfold and wish the Sunshine Gasoline and Max Car Wash teams every success as they build the lifetime value and enjoy ever-increasing loyalty from their customers.

About Us:

Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty and digital marketing technology company specialising in the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.

How we do it:

We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.

Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.

One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.

Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:

www.LiquidBarcodes.com

About Me:

Paula Thomas

Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Host of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” Podcast

With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing content. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my consulting clients have included Telefonica O2 Priority, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer Group (UAE), as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a former judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards and proud host of the “Let’s Talk Loyalty” podcast – the industry’s first podcast for loyalty marketing professionals.

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