Its all in the list and it’s never been more so. Technology today and the means to deploy it have become extremely advanced. If you are using your point-of-sale only to price garments, write tickets and as an over glorified cash register, you are falling further and further behind every day.
Point-of-sale systems for the dry-cleaning industry are some of the most advanced systems in the world. I’ve ever seen. Car dealerships are still struggling to develop a decent point-of-sale system. Dentists and Doctors are struggling too. Restaurants can’t even build a simple customer list.
Despite dry cleaners having some of the most advanced Customer Relationship Management systems in the world at their fingertips, much depends on the old ‘Garbage in – garbage out’ theory. Your marketing success depends upon having good data.
I recall one episode. A client called; he had a new competitor opening up directly across the street from him. He was calling to pull the trigger on multiple marketing programs to keep his customers his customers and to make it difficult for his competitor. Upon receiving my client’s database to start doing some Customer Relationship Marketing, I had to pick up the phone and call the client. Out of his entire database, he had only two customer records fully completed (Name, Address, Cell Phone Number, Email address) and those two records were his personal account and his plant location. The other 5,000 records only had a name and phone number, making the entire customer list, useless.
Let me be absolutely frank with you. Your customer list is an absolute gold mine. It’s not just money in the bank, it’s like owning your own gold or diamond mine, anytime you need sales, you simply tap into your customer list. Having full customer contact details recorded in your point-of-sale enables you, or folks like me, to contact your customer and make a special offer, which in turn usually results in increased sales and, increased profits. When you DON’T have full contact details, it becomes extremely difficult to contact your customers and ask for an order.
Yes, it really is that simple. Ask and receive.
Customers, left to their own decisions, will bring in an order whenever they perceive that they have a need. And, perceptions of need do vary widely. Some people think they need clothes cleaned once, or twice a decade. Some think they need to make a trip to a cleaner twice a week. And then there is everything in between. Every customer has their own spending pattern. You may find it very interesting to graph every customer’s purchase pattern. I’ve done it a time or two and it looks very interesting to see customer breakdown into six different groups of purchasing patterns;
- Every other week
- Quarterly or seasonal
- Once a year, one hit wonders
- Wedding & Funeral crowd
The above list covers every customer in your database, that’s all there is. Certainly, we could break these groups down further, but years of experience has proven to me these basics are more than enough to begin using data and shopping patterns to change customer behavior (ethically) and drive sales in your operation.
This is why I’m obsessed with data.
When it comes to marketing to your customers using data, the quality of the data is the key to success. Simply put, the more customers contacted, the more likely it is customers will respond. If you send a marketing message to 100 customers and you end up with a ten percent response rate (ten percent respond with an order), that’s ten orders. You can rest pretty much assured that if you send the same offer to 1,000 similar spending pattern customers, you can expect the same ten percent reponse rate, but this time it would mean 100 orders. Those 90 extra orders add up to a lot of profit. This is just part of the reason why you need to be capturing complete contact details from EVERY customer that comes through your door, the more customers you contact, the more orders you can generate.
But, does it really work? Yes, yes it does.
Far too often a cleaner is leaving money on the table. There are only three ways to get more sales:
- Get more customers
- Get more pieces
- Get more orders
As we all know, right now, it’s really really really hard to get more customers. So that leaves us with the last two, get more pieces and/or get more orders.
Most customers stand in front of their closet deciding what goes to the cleaner in this load and what can wait until next trip. All those ‘wait until next trip’ pieces are your extra profits. Each time a garment gets bumped, that one less item ringing into your cash register. Making a timely offer can trigger a ‘oh what the heck, it’s on sale, let’s send it now so I don’t miss out’ response. Having a customer drop a couple more items in the bag is added sales and pieces for you. Just two extra pieces on a five piece order is an increase of 40 percent in pieces in ONE ORDER. Over a year, two extra pieces might not seem like a lot, but, if you spread that over 5,000 active customers, it adds up.
And, most customers DO fall into the six spending patterns I’ve already listed in this article. Making an offer at the right time and a weekly customer might break out of their usual pattern of once a week and make two trips in to beat the deadline of an offer expiring. Same with a customer that comes in every two weeks. A weekly customer makes 52 trips in per year, an every-two-week customer makes 26 trips in per year. Just one extra order moves them from 52 to 53 and 26 to 27 orders per year. Given that your top 20 percent of customers in an average active customer database of 5,000, that’s 1,000 customers bring in one extra order for an extra 1,000 orders. At an average of 20 bucks an order, that’s an extra $20,000 in sales.
I don’t know about you, but, $20,000 sure would look good in my bank account, more so during these trying times. And, it’s not that much extra work to ask for those extra orders and pieces and your staff won’t likely even notice that bump up in pieces or orders, so your expenses are not going to change much. It’s a simple process, like adding; ‘Would you like fries with that’ to your sales pitch. And if you can’t do it, I can do it for you, remotely.