Today, the easiest way to stay ahead of the game is to be ahead in the game literally. This can be challenging to do with quickly advancing technology, digital marketing, and changing buyer behaviors.
How do you make investments when you’re not sure what is a fad, and what is a long-standing change in the industry? So if you’re a little unsure of where to put your efforts— it’s okay. You don’t have to have all the answers; you just need to know where to find them.
That’s why IndoorMedia is here. To help you learn more about marketing and advertising tactics that can make a real impact to your bottom line.
Dry Cleaning Tech
Since the 1930s, the dry cleaning industry has quickly evolved. At that point, many businesses were still using the shifty chemical perchloroethylene (perc) to clean clothing. While the chemical offers a competitive stability and can be very gentle in the cleaning process, it is now a regulated chemical because of its effects on human health.
For that reason, businesses like Tide Cleaners have significantly reduced the number of dry cleaning chemicals in their processes. This commitment to using environmentally friendly solutions is very appealing to consumers. In fact, customers may choose a business like Tide solely because of their chemical-free dry cleaning.
That being said, it’s estimated that 65% of dry cleaners in the US still use perc as their primary cleaning agent. So, how can you stay ahead of the game and offer environmentally-friendly solutions that customers will love?
Computerized Washers and Dryers
You heard it right — and you might be using them already. One step that many businesses have taken to move away from perchloroethylene is to implement computerized washers and dryers that remove the need for the chemical in the first place.
The technology goes further than just removing perc and allows dry cleaners to scale up their game by combining new detergents, degreasers, and conditioners in their process. This primarily helps fight against common problems like shrinking or fading clothes and ensures that dry cleaning customers leave happy.
During this process, wet-clean dryers use computerized controls to ensure the garment retains a little bit of moisture while it’s being dried. From there, specialized tension machines are used to restore the shape of garments.
Best of all, the computerized cleaning process allows you to specify exactly how much detergent you want to use. Due to how many computerized cleaners there are out there, companies have even developed biodegradable detergents to be used in the process. This means you can rest assured that your business is a clean, eco-friendly practice.
Of course, the most frustrating part of this option is that it can be pretty costly right off the bat. For those that can afford it, it’s an awesome step into the future of dry cleaning. But for other businesses looking for another option, the good news is there are a ton of them.
Carbon Dioxide Cleaning
Another new development is carbon dioxide cleaning. This method pressurizes carbon dioxide into liquid so that it can then be injected with a special detergent.
While this isn’t the best method for super tough stains, it’s an awesome option for every-day jobs. It’s also totally non-toxic, making it a great option for any business owner who prioritizes their health over everything else.
Moreover, this process is run on a closed system, so there’s no way any chemicals can be released into the atmosphere.
Another eco-friendly option is liquid silicone. This solution was first developed by Green-Earth Cleaning in Kansas City and has quickly spread across the country. The company was first inspired by America’s battle with perchloroethylene, which scientists now say is a likely human carcinogen.
This system uses a form of liquid silicone called D5 in place of harmful chemicals. At its core, D5 is just liquefied sand silicone that is non-toxic and non-hazardous. It can be released into the environment safely because it naturally breaks down into three simple elements; sand, water, and carbon dioxide. These can seep into water, soil, and air without complications.
Even more importantly, it’s safe on your skin. You can even eat it without adverse side effects, so it’s a natural first choice for many dry cleaners. When businesses clean clothing with D5, it comes back clean and lacks the chemical odor that appears after clothes are cleaned with perc. This system is also so gentle on clothes that it doesn’t fade colors, whites don’t grey, and fabrics remain smooth and soft.
Why You Need to Evolve
Whether your town has one or not, big dry cleaning is coming to squash local businesses. As we mentioned earlier, the company Proctor & Gamble is rolling out thousands of Tide brand dry cleaning franchises around the country, and it is only a matter of time before one pops up near you.
Not only do national chains steal business because of brand-familiarity, but a strong stream-lined online presence allows for greater convenience. On top of that, more and more Tide dry cleaners are using the GreenEarth system with liquid silicone. This is allowing them to present themselves as an eco-friendly option and win more business.
To keep up with this huge national chain, you’ll have to take steps to advance your dry cleaning business as soon as you can.
Bring Your Customers Up to Speed
Improving your business and advancing your technology through chemical-free dry cleaning is just the first step. Next, you’ll need to tell your current and potential customers through advertising.
Effective advertising will demonstrate your place above or within your competition, and ultimately, give you a competitive edge. Your regulars will thank you for taking steps to improve, and new customers may reach out once they hear about your eco-friendly business.
Invite customers to come try out your new technology with a coupon. Offer a promotion that incentivizes their visit while advertising the steps you’ve taken to really secure your place in your industry.
An easy way to circulate your coupon will be to take out a supermarket advertisement. Through our Coupon-Receipt program, IndoorMedia offers small businesses the opportunity to reach every customer who visits your local grocery store. By printing on the back of grocery store receipts, you save a ton on ink and printing costs and get to see your promotion go home in the pocket of every single customer.
Plus, grocery store advertising offers hyper-local advertising, which is a must for small businesses. With grocery stores pulling the majority of their business from a three-mile radius of the store, you’ll get to reach a ton of local customers — and maybe even warn your competition that you’re here to dominate your market.