Despite being considered essential businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic and local stay-at-home mandates have severely impacted the drycleaning industry. Even dry cleaners that did stay open during the early days of COVID-19 had very little business, often experiencing monthly sales declines from 50-90%. Now that unemployment is a reality for millions of Americans and much of the work force is working from home, demand for dry cleaning is more unstable and uncertain. However, even amidst these challenges, dry cleaner owners are doing what they can to increase offerings, manage their bottom line and keep customers coming back.
Pivoting to Meet Customers’ Needs
As dry cleaners try to maintain a healthy business, they are looking for ways to better meet customers’ needs. Jasmine Yadegar, CEO of 3 Hanger Supply in Commerce, CA shares, “We have seen few dry cleaners who have been able to continue their business at the same level as pre Covid and possibly grow it during the pandemic. The ones that have effectively done so, have been offering more at home delivery, more direct customer service to allow their customers to stay at home and not have to leave.” These changes require owners to be creative and nimbly adapt to changing circumstances. While it is not easy to change the way you run your business, dry cleaners across the country are exploring pick-up and delivery options, in addition to a renewed focus on wash and fold services. Another way that dry cleaners are pivoting is by focusing on hygiene and showing customers they are providing a clean environment. This prompted 3 Hanger Supply to respond to customer needs and begin offering PPE and sanitizing products that owners need to keep their employees and customers safe.
Special Discounts to Help the Bottomline
Dry cleaners typically operate with low margins which means that every penny counts more than ever before now that they are facing unexpected costs. To help dry cleaners offset costs on supplies, American Express, a longtime supporter of small businesses, is working with 3 Hanger Supply to bring dry cleaners a 20% discount on caped hangers and garment covers while supplies last.* When commenting on the product offer, Yadegar said, “We have tried our best to reduce supply costs and lower our delivery minimums to meet our customers’ demands. This is the very reason why American Express’ program to help subsidize supplies is imperative in such a dire time of need.” The hope is that these discounted products lighten the load for dry cleaners as they navigate these new challenges and seek to grow their business.
Preparing for the Future
While there was already financial pressure on most dry cleaners in the U.S. before the pandemic, there is now renewed motivation to prepare their business for the long term. In an industry where the cost of supplies will continue to be a burden, a renewed focus on the customer experience may be advantageous. Offering contactless payments at checkout is one more way that owners can provide a seamless and safe experience for their customers.
From contactless convenience, to cost savings on supplies, American Express is helping small businesses adapt and grow.