The Value Of Add-on Services
MAXIMIZING REVENUE AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to increase foot traffic, enhance revenue, build loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and expand your competitive advantage, you might want to consider add-on services to your store’s existing product and service offering. Add-on services can provide significant value to convenience stores and can include everything from stamps and package delivery and pickup to propane tanks and gift cards. Other options include bulk windshield fluid tanks, air compressors, and pet washes – which we explore further below.
WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID TANKS
The EcoTank is a windshield washer fluid dispenser designed to reduce waste and minimize a negative impact on the environment. Featuring refillable tanks, it eliminates the need for disposable plastic jugs in a cost-effective, convenient, and customizable manner. One complete fill of an EcoTank eliminates up to 60 plastic jugs from landfill.
“EcoTank is located in 19 countries, including Canada, where we aim to help the country achieve its 2030 goals with regards to single-use plastics,” says Jordon Francis, co-founder of EcoTank North America. “The tank is equipped with software that is owned and third party audited and measures carbon offset and plastic credits.”
Primarily located at gas stations, Francis states that they’ve installed EcoTank in parking lots at large business locations, parking garages, fleet terminals, and truck terminals, as well as alongside Tesla and ChargePoint charging sites.
Each EcoTank is corporately owned with full responsibility for fluid monitoring and refilling requirements. Customers pay an installation cost that includes a custom wrap design.
“Our main offering with most fuel brands is a revenue share model,” says Francis. “We do offer the option for customers to buy, as well as an amenity model – often used for parking garages or business parking lots. Customers pay a monthly fee for the amenity model.”
In terms of return on investment, the payback depends on the flow of traffic at the store. An additional benefit for the retail owner/operator is less waste at their location with fewer plastic jugs clogging garbage or recycling bins. Also, eliminating theft or damage to jugs.
“EcoTank owns its fleet of refill trucks,” says Francis. “Since most of our customers are on revenue share, we make sure no EcoTank goes empty.”
Installation is quick and easy, with little to no downtime for gas stations. The unit requires 120V and four bolts on a concrete pad.
AIR INFLATOR SERVICE COMBINED WITH WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID TANKS
Arctic Blue Inc. offers the market a combination unit featuring an air inflator and windshield washer fluid dispensing unit. Tom White is not only the president of Arctic Blue Inc., but he’s also the inventor who designed and created the Easy Flow on Tap windshield washer dispensing unit combined with an air inflator service as an environmental sustainability project in early 2020.
Easy Flow on Tap achieves significant environmental savings as each system has a capacity of 1,512L of windshield washer fluid, which is equivalent to 416 plastic jugs. Beyond its environmental and customer convenience benefits, White emphasizes additional savings in loss management, time, and manual labour without having to handle skids, boxes, plastic wrapping, and subsequent waste management requirements.
Each unit is outfitted with an Onyx cashless payment solution and a built-in automatic inventory control system that signals fluid levels and refill needs via email notifications to Ultra Clear Canada, a third party with 25 years of national experience, subcontracted for fulfillment purposes.
As part of a pilot project, White has six locations in southern Ontario, at carwashes, gas stations and an automotive repair shop. Based on customer feedback and observations, he’s tweaked the nozzle and made the hose smaller and lighter with a straight dispenser that fits better into a vehicle’s reservoir and takes only 26 seconds to fill from empty, with zero spillage.
As part of his company’s growth initiative, White has partnered with P.D. McLaren Limited, a national liquid handling solutions provider, to discuss further advancements and strategies. Both teams have been working together on further design and assembly improvements.
All that’s required is a 32-inch by 46-inch cement pad (same footprint as what used to be a telephone booth) and access to the sun as the Easy Flow on Tap combination dispenser is solar powered (optional 110 Volt) therefore not requiring installation costs or operating expense of electricity – another green initiative and cost-savings opportunity.
“The winter season is peak time for windshield washer fluid while the summer season tends to leverage the air inflator most often,” says White. “The Easy Flow on Tap dispensing cube creates year-round traffic.”
In terms of investment, White states there are options available, which include a capital cost purchase, lease-to-own or partnership. Depending on use, White believes that the return on investment could be within two years.
DOG WASH STATIONS
As pet ownership continues to grow in Canada, with the majority being dogs, having a dog wash station on location represents a value-added service offering for customers.
Evelyn Rutherford, director at Furever Clean Dog Wash promotes the K9000, a robust, low-maintenance, stainless steel dog wash that was originally built in 2005 in Australia by a carwash expert. The K9000 dispenses three hypoallergenic products and a pet wash disinfectant, as well as a two-speed dryer, and three-part hair filtration system with a non-slip floor. Customized decals to promote company branding can be added free of charge at the time of production.
With over 70 units installed across Canada at various businesses, including gas stations and carwashes, dog washes increase year-round customer traffic.
“A single dog wash can easily bring in a couple of thousand dollars a month – even if only 35 dogs are washed a week,” says Rutherford. “Twin machines are becoming even more popular in busy locations. Many of our customers are finding their dog washes so successful that they keep on adding more. Devos Car Wash in Moose Jaw, for instance, has just ordered its third machine for the same site.”
“The K9000 can run independently with very minimal oversight and features various payment devices like coin/token/debit/credit/and Apple Pay,” says Rutherford. “Price for time, as well as other settings, are completely configurable by the business owner.”
Retail owners are responsible for installation, with the help of detailed specifications, videos, and telephone support for assistance, and can be done by any qualified plumber and electrician. All that is needed is hot and cold water, a drain, and electricity.
“Over the years we have expanded our product line based on our customer requests,” says Rutherford. “We offer a single and twin portable dog wash building for those business owners that do not have space inside to put a dog wash. We also have a variety of pet room accessories and pet treat vending machines.”
Rutherford takes pride in the relationships she’s established with customers and the advice and support her company offers customers on how to start, market, and expand their business with ebooks and business plans.
With the right research and fit for a location’s customer base, add-on services like windshield washer fluid tanks, air inflators, and dog washes can be a valuable way for retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors, attract new customers, and increase revenue.