Leveraging AI, Machine Learning, Computer Vision… in the Car Wash Industry?
You hear about it in every seminar, convention and news article… Artificial Intelligence is taking over the world!
AI has become the hottest buzzword to (loosely) throw around… it seems just about anything that has a few lines of code in it has AI. But it’s really about being able to mimic the human brain in how we process information and make decisions. Machine learning is another much talked about tech commodity. While it is a subset of AI, machine learning is slightly different. One could think of it as the ability to extract useful patterns from data with minimal human involvement. So, how can that be leveraged in the car wash industry?
One way in which machine learning insights can be leveraged is by enabling business to predict future sales volume and patterns, by the hour. While a veteran owner with decades worth of operational experience will have an intuitive read on weather’s impact over 1–2 sites, it’s impossible to accurately predict at scale for 20 or 50 sites by intuition, without the help of machine learning algorithms.
Artificial neural networks (the computing behind our machine learning) go a step further, combining weather patterns with humidity, seasonality, geographical data like local events and historical data, to show hour by hour what to expect in terms of customer flow. Imagine being able to predict within a few % of how many pay-as-you-go customers versus unlimited members to expect. For larger companies with more junior site managers who may not have as much experience, predictive analytics via machine learning algorithms can empower each site to rely on real data for a standardized approach to demand management. And if one site is projected to do poorly compared to others, management can invest the time necessary to improve that site specifically. By accurately predicting wash volumes, owners and managers can adjust labor needs by the hour or schedule preventative maintenance / employee training during low volume hours.
Another capability of machine learning in the carwash space is identifying high value sales potential, in real time. By understanding the behavior of each customer (data based on vehicle type, make, visit history, etc.), sites can target high value customers, receive real time notifications and provide customized promotions based on this intel. Increasing ticket average is so critical to a site’s profitability and that is achieved via unlimited memberships and upsell packages. Recognizing high value customers does not have to be a guessing game when you leverage technology to do most of the heavy lifting.
The competitive advantage behind this tech is its inherent ability to always learn and improve the more data input it has. With time, artificial neural networks will get smarter and become a more indispensable part of the smart manager’s operating toolkit.
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If you’re interested in learning how omniX labs can help your business, reach out to learn more.