PUD Incorporation in Today’s Laundry: Marketing and Promotion (Conclusion)

CHICAGO — Earlier this year, we introduced “Incorporating Pickup and Delivery,” a three-part series that explores the hot service trend. February’s Part 1 examined the labor and workflow considerations linked to such a service through the eyes of a trio of laundromat owners. The May 2 part featured several more owners evaluating the use of delivery vehicles, computer software, and possible add-ons that the new service may require.

As our series concludes this month, previous contributing laundry service owners return to answer our questions about marketing and promoting their service.

Q: Are there specific promotions or incentives that are more suitable for pick-up and delivery customers than for other types of laundry customers?

Todd Ofsink, Owner of Todd Layne Cleaners & Laundromat, New York City: Offering a heavily subsidized delivery rate, or sometimes free for customers who live near our store, has been very helpful to PUD customers. $10 free first time services is also a great way to encourage a PUD customer to use it for the first time. On occasion, we will offer PUD customers $10 in free services the first four times they use us. This creates a routine for them and makes it more likely that they will use us in the future.

Hank Nelken, owner of three half-price laundromats in California’s San Fernando Valley: We offer a discount on the first order and a 100% money-back guarantee. I think that helps new customers get over their resistance and place an order. That and I make sure to show lots of reviews. Social validation is important, especially since you’re not talking to anyone directly.

Mark Vlaskamp, ​​co-owner and managing partner of The Folde, a laundry pickup and delivery service that relies on laundromats it owns in Houston and Austin, Texas, as processing centers: I have noticed that PUD’s ordering habits are impulsive. Something happens and you decide to seek help to do the laundry. Our best ability is our availability. In our tests, customers who can’t pick up laundry within 24 hours tend to drop out of the funnel, likely opting to handle the laundry themselves. Also, knowing that laundry service orders are impulsive, we constantly try to remind our customers that we are here to help.

When route density is low, you’d be surprised how many orders you can get by simply texting customers to ask if they want to schedule a pickup. We found that text marketing and automation convert around 25%, which is about triple what our best marketing email converts. It is a useful tool in our tool belt to ensure route density remains optimal.

Kristyn Van Ostern, co-owner of Wash Street, a laundry services company based in Manchester, New Hampshire: Pickup and delivery customers are more likely to be online, so they are more interested in coupon codes and special offers that incentivize certain pickup or delivery days.

Colleen Unema, owner of Brio Laundry, Bellingham, Washington: Yes, we believe they don’t need discounts, they need service. Therefore, we simply offer additional services that our route drivers collect: dog beds, bedding, baby items. This suggestion is usually on the thank you card or in an additional note written by the driver: “Did you know we make blankets and dog beds? Let me know if you want me to take them next week, xxx-xxxx.”

Laura Simoes, co-owner of Wash Street: Having an app allows us to update deals frequently and time discounts for slower days.

Lloyd Silver, owner of Sage Laundry, Woodland, California: I’m a big fan of warranties. You need to set some parameters around your warranty to protect yourself from abuse, but for many people, this might be the first time they’ve used a laundry service and they’re nervous. The more we can assure you that your clothing is in good hands, the easier it will be for us to win you over as a customer.

The real secret of guarantees is that hardly anyone will accept you. There have been many research studies that show this to be true. So far I haven’t had a single customer raise the warranty issue, although there have been a couple of instances where I have reached out with our warranty in mind when I read feedback that I wasn’t 100% happy with (it was not wrong, but did not meet my personal expectations).

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about marketing or promoting a clothing pick-up and delivery service?

nelken: Do everything you can to entice a customer to make their first order. Then win them over with excellent service and you’ll have them for life.

Vlaskamp: Marketing to home laundry customers is a different game than marketing to traditional laundromat customers. You’re not competing against local laundromats, you’re competing with early digital laundry apps. These first digital laundry apps do not process any of the cleaning, but instead match the customer with a cleaning partner (either a laundromat or an independent contractor) to do the laundry. With no clothes to worry about, these apps hone your approach to marketing. Traditional coin trading marketing is generally not enough when it comes to PUDs.

ostern van: Our pickup and delivery service didn’t really take off until we added paid advertising (Google Ads). For us, Google ads have been much more effective than social media ads and marketing.

Unema: Track requests! Don’t leave them waiting for a callback. Start keeping track of where/what kind of requests you’re getting and create a plan to address them. Then call them and offer them. Second, stay focused on the prize! Self-service laundry is number 1, in-store laundry is number 2, and number 3 is PUD service. So don’t turn your self-service laundry customers into PUD customers! Let them be and focus on expanding your reach with PUD; get new PUD customers and turn them into self-service customers.

Silver: It is critical that you understand the value of a customer. Once you have that in mind, you can determine how much you can spend to acquire that customer and still achieve your desired ROI. To understand that value and the costs associated with marketing it, you need good data and a way to process and analyze that data.

sink: We are located in New York City and have a lot of new “competitors” that don’t have a storefront, laundromat, or anything else. They are simply technology platforms that use drivers to pick up/deliver the clothes and outsource all the work to other laundries. It is essential in a metropolitan area where these services operate that potential PUD clients know your great competitive advantage: that you do your own work and emphasize your high quality standards. When you tell this to potential PUD clients, they will almost always stay with you.

Laundromat owners must post this information on their website, Google Dashboard, review sites, and all other social media platforms. We have found that PUD customers are very attached to their garments and some of their biggest concerns are related to potential loss and damage. Letting them know that you do your own work only emphasizes that you can be trusted.

Did you miss previous parts of this article? You can do it here: Part 1 — Part 2

(Photo: © maxxyustas/Depositphotos)

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