Where Will Your Cleaner Be in a Year?

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Over the last few years, a contraction in consumer demand for dry cleaning has forced cleaners to tighten their belts — closing stores and reducing labor — while competing for a smaller customer base. As Bill Fisher, former president of the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, put it in the 2014 IBISWorld Industry Report, there are “around 25% too many dry cleaners for the volume of clothes being dry cleaned.”

Cleaners should be asking themselves: How can I ensure that I am one of the 75% that still belong? The cleaners that survive into the next few years will be those that can engage today’s consumer in a rapidly changing marketplace and provide that customer with an excellent experience.

So what will your cleaner look like in a year? In three years? Will you be able to compete for today’s customer?

Well-Run Delivery Routes Increase Margins

Routes have been around for over a century, but are often overlooked as an engine of growth. A typical in-store customer brings you business when they need something cleaned. It could be every week, once a month, or a few times year. With route delivery, you earn the customer’s business each week, and they never have to leave their home. This continued engagement, on average, generates 20 to 25% more orders from route customers than in-store customers.

In addition to spending more, route customers are stickier. They avoid the temptation of competitors’ deals and have one less reason to shop around. Thus, cleaners spend less time and money retaining these customers and their spend.

Next-Level Customer Experience Is the New Norm

In the age of one-click purchase and on-demand rides, customers expect a convenient, quick, and painless service experience. What does this look like?


Smartphones and online ordering have enabled companies like Amazon, Uber and Grubhub to lead the way in improving customer experience by focusing on convenience and simplicity. As this technology becomes increasingly available, cleaners can provide the same experience to their customers.


‘Set it and forget it’ routes are convenient, but digital sign-up and one click scheduling reduces friction for the customer. When that customer needs flexibility in a laundry emergency, instant communication is essential. Further, digital tools provide transparency into order status, advanced communication to reduce no shows, and an overall seamless experience.

At the intersection of delivery routes and technology lies opportunity: cleaners can offer their customers a vastly improved customer experience for less. Adapting to the changing trends outlined in this article will ensure that your cleaner continues to grow its customer base while reducing operation costs and management overhead.