In this guest post, Alex Jekowsky, CEO and Co-founder of Cents discusses some tech trends that can help laundry businesses become more profitable.
Now is a great time to be a laundromat owner. With so much innovation in the industry, there are incredible opportunities to leverage technology to create a better experience for your customers and employees, all while driving up profits. In this blog, we’re going to walk through a few hot-topics and trends in the industry, some of which have been accelerated by Covid-19, and how you can utilize technology to take advantage of them.
Pickup and Dropoff
Laundry delivery services have been one of the leading drivers of increased revenue and customer growth for laundromats. Unfortunately, there is often a high-cost barrier to offer such a service. You may need to buy a van, insurance, hire a driver, pay gas, handle accidents, etc. – all of which eat at your margins and make your growing business less profitable. This has become the norm because there haven’t been other methods to power delivery. In today’s world, where there are millions of rideshare and gig-economy drivers on the road passing by your store everyday, have you ever wondered why they aren’t delivering laundry?
Let’s look at restaurants – Doordash, GrubHub, and UberEats all have made it possible for restaurants to offer delivery without the operating cost. Why hasn’t the laundry industry been a point of focus for gig-economy delivery? If anything, laundry is easier to deliver as it takes longer to process and, while it needs to arrive to the customer on-time, it does not need to be delivered ASAP like food. Part of the challenge in laundry is that it is an integrated process – one order can take multiple days to process, be handled by multiple employees, and already contains items from the customer (unlike food).
While previously impossible to leverage in the laundry industry, the gig-economy and last-mile logistic networks that are already embedded within cities, can be a huge cost-saver and revenue driver for your business.
As delivery drives more volume and new customers begin sending orders to your stores, the ability to track employee and operational efficiency is key to increasing margins. Knowing the pounds per hour folded, average processing time, order rating, frequency at which machines go out of service, etc. are all key metrics that many owner operators either do not track, or use inefficient and manual logging tools. When you can calculate that data easily, you can make data-driven decisions to reward and incentivize employees, run predictive machine maintenance, and create a better overall order and store experience for your customers.
Promotions, Affiliate Programs, and More
Promotions can be one of the best ways to engage new customers and reduce customer churn. However, there are some key aspects to a successful promo/coupon campaign that will drive sales:
- Setting up your coupons and promos can be even more powerful if you do it strategically, opposed to generically. Offering 10% off wash + fold or self-serve on weekends can actually decrease your revenue given that people are willing to pay full/higher-prices on weekends/peak store hours. It’s critical to set promos that will not only drive new customers to your store, but increase machine utilization and purchases in your off-peak hours.
- Offering a percentage or discount service can be valuable, but having the ability to dynamically create promotions based on data and time ranges, specific stores, product/service types, min/max quantities, etc. will raise your ROI on promos to a new level.
- Leveraging existing coupon/promo campaign templates that have proven to be successful by other store owners de-risk campaigns for retaining and creating customers for your stores.
- Once you’ve run successful promotional campaigns, the most important next step is to understand the insights. How many customers engaged with that promo, how much cumulative money was saved, how many customers were returning compared to new, and what promo/coupon campaign worked better than others?
- Affiliate Codes:
- There’s a great opportunity to incentivize your customers to be your marketers. Your customers can receive an affiliate code to share with their friends, family, colleagues, etc. who haven’t been to your store before. Create affiliate campaigns where when a new customer uses one of your existing customer’s affiliate code, both parties get an $X credit to their account. This happens in many different retail/eCommerce environments, and it can be a game changer for your business
In summary, technology is the gateway to drive new initiatives and business opportunities that drastically decrease the manual/labor-intensive work that goes into running laundromats.
Beyond just technology, laundry-specific software platforms like Cents, which powers all services mentioned in this blog post, will take your business to new heights. To learn more about what Cents can do for you, and other tech trends that can help grow your business, get in touch with us at [email protected] or by visiting us at trycents.com.