Laundry and Dry Cleaning is a necessity for everyone. During recession, customers can stop buying clothes but they would still want to keep their existing garments clean. This is an industry, which has been least hit by the downturn or impacted economy. Moreover, it is also a very profitable business. But still not all the dry cleaners are millionaires? Why? What is the reason? The major reason behind it is their unorganized state which in turn leads to extremely haphazard management. Therefore, the business owners are not capable of taking strategic business oriented decisions but end up making intuitive decisions.
In this Blog, we have listed few proven practices which can help you immensely in increasing your profits and scaling your dry cleaning and laundry business. These techniques are results of our 40+ years of expertise in dry cleaning industry, accurate data provided by different dry cleaners from across the globe and scientific analysis done as data is meaningless unless not interpreted correctly.
1. Launch Customized Packages After Analyzing Your Customers’ Trend Thoroughly
Greater efficiency can easily be achieved in this business by offering tailored services to the clients according to their specific needs. You should study your customers, follow their order trend and analyze how many orders do they place in a month/year, what time do they prefer to drop the garments (or home picked), what time they prefer to pick up (or home dropped), what is their convenient mode and time of payment. Figure out whether the customer is married or a bachelor; working professional or a student; lives in a joint family or a nuclear family? Study the needs of your customers and launch specific offers or packages for them that suit their trend. Let me explain this with the help of a few practical examples:-
Suppose there is a customer, who lives in a nuclear family. He places orders for somewhere around 2.5 k every month and another customer who is a bachelor, who gives around 25 garments for wash and iron every month. Now, you have two different types of customers! So, your strategy of dealing with them should be completely different as you cannot launch a single offer for both of them to satisfy their demands. One option might be to offer a common flat discount scheme to both, but this will not do much good as it might just fetch a couple of more garments from them, nothing else. (learn more on pre-paid packages v/s loyalty points) Instead, if you provide them with specific prepaid packages, it will help you more. Like, you can launch a pre-paid package for the nuclear family as pay 10,000 in advance and get services worth 12,000 with a validity of 6 months. If he is satisfied with your services he won’t mind paying 10K in advance as he is getting a hefty discount of 2K.
This way, you have attained the following benefits:
- Complete customer satisfaction as you have given him a good discount
- Gained customer loyalty for the next 6 months
- You get the money in advance and eliminate the case of an amount due from this customer.
But, you cannot convince your bachelor customer with this package. So, you can create another package for him as pay 1K in advance and get unlimited garments wash and iron for the next 1 month. This way you would be able to fetch 1000 from even a bachelor customer who under normal circumstances would never place orders worth more than 500. Similarly, you can launch different packages as per the demands of the clients. So the bottom line is study your customers and be flexible while launching offers for them.
2. Give customers the preferred mode of communication as per their convenience
Clear communication and connectivity is vital to keep your customers retained and satisfied in this industry. There are different channels through which different customer would like to connect with you. Walk down to your store, give you a call, send SMS, Email, Whatsapp, Facebook, Mobile Applications, Website etc..You need to empower your customers to communicate with you or place orders as per their convenience. Apart from this, if ever you are launching a new service/offer, you should also send promotional SMS or In-app notifications to your customers. This will also help you immensely in creating your brand.
3. Track your Garments Religiously
Garment Tracking is a MUST in any successful laundry/dry cleaning business. (Moreover, if you have any tool or application through which the Customers can also track their garments, then it would be an added advantage for your brand. As it is the right of the customers to know the state of their garments.) You need to systematize your processes and track your garments at every checkpoint. The best way to do this is to take the assistance of technology because if you depend on humans, errors will be made and eventually garment loss and wrong deliveries will take place. And on a very honest note, one wrong delivery or lost garment can actually cost you one loyal customer and definitely the compensation cost (as after the garment loss, the garment automatically becomes a very expensive one)
4. Monitor all the deliveries and transactions like a shadow
The best way to do this is to have a dry cleaning POS Software at your store which can give you the necessary information. You would need tools like the cash report, order report, sales and delivery report etc. Do check these reports every day and track all the transactions done, by whom they were done, how many garments were delivered today and how many needs to be delivered tomorrow. All this information will keep you in control of your business and your employees. Moreover, your employees will also be intimidated that if they try to indulge in some theft, then they would be caught in minutes. With this, you will get rid of all your theft pilferages.
5. Work on the customers who are AT RISK to leave you
Now the major challenge comes when you have to figure out the customers who are at risk to leave your services. This is impossible to do manually. So how do you do that? You might actually need an enhanced tool which can do the trend analysis on all your customers. The tool should be capable of calculating the shopping pattern of every customer and also predict the customers next visit to your store. So if suddenly, a customer stops following his pattern and does not visit you on the predicted date, you can get an indication that he is at risk for you.
So now, as you have important numbers at your fingertips, this is your prime responsibility to convince your customers to build confidence in you. There can be varied reasons of his losing interests in you such as hiked prices, bad services, dissatisfied results, not treating them properly, etc.. The reasons can be anything, but you have to understand its root cause and eradicate the same as soon as early. Maybe the customer might or might not be regained, but he will definitely give you a feedback which will help you improve your services in the future.
6. Measure Your Business comprehensively
Keep measuring your business at regular intervals as there is a saying “The more you measure the more you grow”. The main problem with most of the dry cleaners and launderers is that they do not have any way to actually measure their business and this leads to instinctive decision making rather than efficient decision making. It is of utmost importance to have tools which can give you the right representation of the right data through the right channel. You need to be at the top of your business anytime, anywhere if you want to improve and create a lucrative business model for yourself.