One of the major concerns I hear from dry cleaners I work with is how to keep prices up despite discounting competitors and how to attract customers who will pay your prices even in a turbulent economy.
In order to make 2012 your best year yet, you’ll need to concentrate this year on three major marketing strategies.
First, you’ll need to position your business for success.
Second, learn what it really takes to fight discounters and win.
And third, the best way to attract new customers, whether it’s for your stores or pick up and delivery routes, and the best strategy for keeping customers loyal.
In the dry cleaning business, as in any business, it is always the dominant people who win. Owners begin to see profits rise when they take the time to plan their marketing strategy each week and follow through with a consistent marketing program, over time.
Decide once and for all whether you’re a discounter or a full service cleaner.
Does your store décor and customer service match what you stand for? Are your logo, address, store hours, phone number and website plastered all over your bags? What impression are you giving people the first time they walk into your store? Have you developed a “positioning statement” to differentiate yourself from your competition?
Positioning is not merely a decision but an attitude of doing business that should trickle down to each and every employee. Every interaction between a customer and one of your employees should reflect the quality and service credo; the mission of your business.
Your mission might be to be more environmentally friendly or to become your community’s vehicle to help distribute clothing and cans for the needy. Positioning can involve sponsorships of community social and sporting events or partnering with like businesses to promote a just cause.
Today dry cleaners are faced with the reality that less people wear formal clothing to work. Consider positioning yourself as the casual leader or the executive’s dry cleaner.
Winning The Discounting War
Begin to differentiate yourself to the market you want to attract and create an awareness that will make you stand out from the competition – casual vs. executive; pick up vs. store; specialty cleaning vs. laundry.
Educate your customers and the general public in your community about the different types of solvents used to clean clothes. Teach them how to handle mold, moths and tough stains. Show them the advantage of professional laundering of casual clothing. Little extras like hand finishing, button replacement, delivery, drop boxes, convenient hours all add value to your image and help justify your prices.
Spread the word by becoming a resource for grooming excellence with frequent newsletters to customers and prospects. Today, e-mail makes this a quick and inexpensive solution for keeping your name in front of the public.
Three Ways To Increase Your
Dry Cleaning Business
Get more customers: Determine your ideal target market and market to them consistently over several months, testing different offers by direct mail vs. e-mail.
Get customers to spend more money with you: Give customers incentives and rewards for continuing to do business with you. Develop new services to expand your horizons – delivery, shoe repair, draperies, formals, business to business, fire restoration.
Get customers to shop more often: Give them an incentive to return after the first time they visit your store. Give new customers a reason to return and they will keep coming back.
How To Make 2012
Your Best Year Yet
Attract new prospects within a 1-2 mile radius of your store. Expand your pick up and delivery routes by going door to door and using a proven system for attracting new pick-up and delivery customers.
Think of new ways of approaching shoppers: What new services can you offer in 2012? Draperies, formal wear, shoe services? How can you become your community’s online information resource?
Reward current customers – constant discounting is not a lasting reward. Information and appreciation build loyalty. Couple information and appreciation with surprise rewards and you have a winning formula for keeping customers coming back.
Satisfy Clients – Give incentives to your staff. Teach them the lifetime value of a customer and how one positive interaction can keep a customer for life. Offer special services to this group of customers. Develop a program to win back fading or lost customers. This is one of the most neglected areas to increase business, yet one of the most lucrative. Studies show you can recapture 15%-20% of lost customers just by contacting them.
Expand Advocates – Expand your territory either with a new store or delivery route. Encourage customers to tell their friends and relatives about your specialty, rewards and incentives both online and offline. Expand your hours. Develop a web presence that educates as well as rewards returning customers and incentivizes new visitors.
By increasing each one of these customer groups, prospects, shoppers, customers, clients and advocates by 20%, you can double your business in 2012.
Allan J. Katz is a marketing consultant specializing in helping dry cleaners create uncommon marketing strategies that increase sales and profits. He is the author of the Ultimate Marketing System for Dry Cleaners and Addictive Entrepreneurship. For a free 15 minute marketing check-up of your dry cleaning business call (901) 359-8299.