Firing Up Post Pandemic

Well, it’s starting to look like at long last the pandemic is waning. Let’s not get into the politics of masks, open, closed, restrictions, or any of that corrosive and divisive discussion. Let’s just focus on being professional and start making plans how to prepare our businesses for emerging into a new world.

Fear is real. Many people are very concerned that they are returning to a world that is still infected, that they will catch something, and it will kill them. Many, many folks are clinging to the safety of their homes and still want to work from there rather than return to their office. Not only do we have to respect that, we should be making plans to encourage confidence and draw people back into your shops again or, at the very least, continue to serve people at their homes. It’s going to take years for folks to grow more confidence, it’s not like turning on a light switch and the world returns to normal. No, people are going to be very nervous and insecure for some time to come yet. We had best be prepared to chase our customers and their orders to wherever that customers and clothes are, which means pick up and deliver has best be included in whatever business model you deploy going forward. A hard yes to the concept that if the customers won’t come to you, you better go to the customers.

Who is the best prospect customer in a post pandemic world? Well, for the past two years, working from home has dragged our already poor dress code choices from casual, to almost naked, or baggy sweatpants at the very least. This means fewer pieces of drycleaning are out there than ever before. But, conversely, it means that there are more washable items than ever before. While many people certainly have had a LOT MORE time at home, it DOES NOT mean that people have been spending any more time actually doing their laundry. Any business model deployed going forward should be including offers of wash, dry fold services.

I know it might seem strange offering an expanded laundry service when most people these days have a washer and dryer in their houses already. Certainly, I buy your argument that the main reason drycleaning exists is because people DON’T have a drycleaning machine, presses and technical know-how to do drycleaning at home themselves. So, I offer a counter argument, almost every house in North America has a stove top and oven in it and yet people go out to restaurants and buy baking at bakeries. Despite such an abundance of cooking equipment supply, one would think a restaurant could not compete with cooking at home, yet the restaurant industry continues to grow and thrive. So, the point is, it’s not about being able to do it yourself, there are huge markets to go after that don’t want to do it themselves, or don’t have time to do it themselves, or just plain old want someone else to do the work for them. There are serious amounts of pieces and pounds of laundry out there that can be turned into revenue for you if you simply go after it and ask for it.

The absolute best prospect customer you should be going after is the customer you already have had. So many businesses today are always on the hunt for new business from new customers. Of course, it seems to make sense that the business that has the most customers, wins, but in reality, it’s the RIGHT KIND of customers that make the difference.

It’s hard going after new customers. Studies have shown that it takes ten times the effort and a lot more money in marketing costs to bring in one order from one new customer. You have to turn over a lot of stones to find a new customer today and then it’s a major uphill battle to convince that new customer to send in an order. It’s so much easier to simply reach out to the customer you already have and ask for an order.

How easy is it and where do I find the customers I’ve already had? Well, if you have a point-of-sale system, they should stick out like a sore thumb. Run a report on your point-of-sale data listing the people who have not had an order for six months, one year, or two years, or have had less than two or three orders in total. Alternatively, if your point-of-sale system can track annual sales and has recorded previous year’s sales, you could run a report looking for folks who have had a noticeable drop in number or orders, annual sales dollars, or number of pieces from 2019, to 2020, to 2921.

How to reach these customers now that you have identified them? Assuming your staff have done a good job of collecting phone numbers, addresses, email addresses and cell phone numbers, you can reach out and send an invitation to come back and bring in an order.

Yeah, imagine that, identifying customers and extending them an invitation to do business with you. Extremely radical, right? No, really, it’s that simple. Take yourself as an example, how many businesses that you frequented pre-pandemic have reached out to you asking for your business? Darn few I would say.

These days, a point-of-sale system is vital to the success of your business and the importance of using data to drive sales and the customer experience is growing more and more very month. Sadly, very few cleaners invest the time and effort to learn how to use the data they have and then use effective marketing campaigns to drive sales.

There are literally tens of thousands of dollars of extra sales tied up in your database and customer list and it does not take a lot of effort to knock those extra sales loose to fall into your pockets. If you don’t know how to unlock that extra revenue, you really should consider joining a point-of-sale user group, there are a few online, or, hire an expert like myself (or others) to do it for you. I cannot stress enough how important, cost effective and easy it can be to bring in extra thousands in sales simply by asking the customer you already had to return with an extra order, or a couple extra pieces on the next order.

In many ways, recovering from this global pandemic feels like we are emerging into a whole new world. Well, we are, really. I don’t think there is a cleaner among us who lived through the Spanish Flu of 1918, and the least time we saw global economies shut down, people isolate and shelter in place. Plus, I don’t think there is a business on this planet that has not suffered a fundamental shift in consumer demand and customer spending habits like we have experienced during the past two years. Change came rapidly, in some cases, literally overnight. While our customers changed at the speed of commerce with their spending, it has taken a lot longer for us businesses to adapt and change along with our customers. I guess it would be fair to say, we can feel like Noah merging from the Ark after 40 days and oh baby, what a looong forty days it’s been. Personally, I can feel the sun on my face, and I can see the storm clouds parting. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you survivors at the up-coming Clean Show. Make plans! And, see you there!

About Darcy Moen

Darcy Moen opened his first drycleaning shop at the age nineteen. Over the next sixteen years, he built his first 600 square foot plant into a chain of 5 stores, creating and testing his own marketing programs along the way. Darcy is a multi-media marketer, working in digital signage, video, print, direct mail, web, email and is a social media expert certified by Facebook for Pages, Insights, and Ad systems. Please visit

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