Get the latest dry cleaning business tips each week on our blog. Each week we cover topics from technology to customer experience.

More dry cleaners are discovering the benefits of becoming Eco-friendly businesses.

Today’s dry cleaners are working to save more money, making their businesses healthier, and giving back to the planet in unprecedented ways.

Surveys say that customers prefer companies who care about their causes and share their values.

Based on research by Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 6 in 10 citizens of the United States think humans mostly cause global warming.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of becoming an environmentally-friendly dry cleaner.

What does this look like in action? Discover several ways to integrate Eco-friendly practices into your dry cleaning business.

BIG_climate_Leiserowitz_cause-850x751

Eliminate or Reduce Paper

Depending on your operations, eliminating paper may be difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start taking steps to reduce paper used in your cleaner.

If you are a paper-based cleaner or using an old point of sale, you can upgrade to a new dry cleaning and laundry point of sale.

As an example, Enlite POS allows you to send customer receipts via email.

Enlite POS Email Invoices

You can also use heat seal with Enlite POS. Eliminating the need for paper tags.

Some people might say, it’s only a small piece of paper. But every piece helps.

Wet Cleaning Versus Dry Cleaning

The first step to becoming a more Eco-friendly dry cleaner is to get rid of chemical solvents like tetrachloroethylene. This traditional dry cleaning chemical contributes to both indoor and outdoor pollution and is carcinogenic to humans. Wet cleaning, on the other hand, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several green groups nationwide.

Wet cleaning uses non-chemical biodegradable cleaning solvents. Wet cleaning is exceptionally gentle and works with virtually every fabric. You can also get rid of stain remover without shrinking your customers’ clean clothes.

Wet cleaning processes use unique digital cleaning machines. This Eco-friendly alternative also requires additional wet cleaning equipment, like pressing machines, steamers, and dry clean finishing.

Use Eco-friendly Dry Cleaning Detergents

Your next step is to switch out your chemical detergents for Eco-friendly alternatives. Wet cleaning is one way. The other option is changing your cleaning products. One option is liquid carbon dioxide, also known as C02 dry cleaning.

Liquid carbon dioxide is the stuff used to carbonate your favorite soft drinks. It’s also a non-toxic alternative for dry cleaning. 

CO2 dry cleaners machines resemble regular machines, but they’re a little different. The dry cleaning machine’s drum is pumped with liquid carbon dioxide. Whatever CO2 is left from the sessions is injected into a holding container for the next cleaning.

Next to wet cleaning technology, C02 dry cleaning is the most Eco-friendly solution. A very minimal amount of C02 is released after each cleaning. Your business reduces its carbon footprint and water pollution activity. C02 dry cleaning machines use less energy than traditional machines and even wet cleaning machines.

Eco Friendly Dry Cleaners

D-5 Silicone Dry Cleaning Solvents

A newer eco-friendly alternative that’s getting a lot of attention with green dry cleaners is silicone solvents. Specifically, D-5 solvents. You’ll find similar ingredients in eco-friendly deodorant bars. After use, D-5 dry cleaning solvents break down into the earth, water, or carbon dioxide.

While chemicals are used to create D-5 silicone solvents, harmful chemicals don’t come in contact with the clothes.

Start a Recycling Program

Take the time to analyze your dry cleaning process, commercial dry cleaning and washing machines,  for opportunities to recycle raw materials.

Recyclable materials include different kinds of:

  • glass
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • metal
  • plastic
  • tires
  • textiles
  • batteries
  • electronics

You can even look at grocery stores for an easy recycling program.

Invest in reusable bags that customers can use more than once.

Change How You Power Your Dry Cleaning Machines

You understand which dry-cleaning solvents to use (and not use.) Now, it’s time to look at your approach to energy efficiency.

Today’s green dry cleaners are investing in alternative energy sources, like solar and wind energy.

According to Energy Sage, “the average price per watt for solar panels ranges from $2.57 to $3.35, and the cost of installing an average size solar power system is in the U.S. usually range from $11,411 to $14,874 after solar tax credits”.

Want to learn more about solar power costs? Check out this article by Energy Sage.

It’s worth visiting other eco-friendly cleaners to see which technology they’re using and how much they’re charging customers for it.

Use High-Effective Dry Cleaning Machines

Dry cleaning machines that run on alternative power are highly effective. Primarily if you invest in the right model.

What do you do if you can’t afford to switch to an alternative power source?

Investing 10s of thousands of dollars is not easy for most dry cleaning businesses, but not to worry. If you can’t switch, make necessary upgrades to improve the efficiency of your machines. Make sure your equipment isn’t using too much water or heat. 

Your machines should have a high energy star rating, use an appropriate balance of water, temperature, and solvents. Take an audit of your inventory and remove equipment that is using too much energy for such little output.

Learn more about dry cleaning equipment: Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Dry Cleaning Equipment 

Eco-Friendly Details Matter

Don’t forget about all those little details at your dry cleaning business. That would be your dry cleaning accessories, boxes, bags, hangers, and any complimentary items for customers.

Start by using reusable, Eco-friendly hangers. Broken hangers should be recycled, not thrown away. Make sure your hangers are made out of recyclable plastic or biodegradable plastic.

Are your clothing bags made from recycled materials? Invent in recycle plastic bags or sustainable fabric bags. Change your packaging too. When purchasing supplies, invest in recyclable containers and boxes.

Offering pickup and delivery services is also a way you can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that your customers’ car emits. You’ll be able to avoid your customers to drive to the cleaner. To make this service even more Eco-friendly, you could invest in a Hybrid Car. 

Make Sure Your Staff Is On the Same Page

Excellent staff plays a significant role in Eco-friendly business models. Start by drafting an Eco-friendly policy that gets all your employees on the same page.

Outline your expectations for Eco-friendly practices, like cleaning only with eco-friendly products and non-chemical soaps. Make sure recycling bins are labels, so employees know where to throw away their recycles. Create a list of what can (and can’t) be thrown away or recycled.

The next is to reduce paper use in your company. Encourage staff to send emails and SMS instead of scribbling messages on paper. Start using heat seal instead, invest in a communication tool that streamlines meetings, and cuts down on paper. Start using a dry cleaning management tool that automates your operational needs from one dashboard.

Reduce paper Eco Dry Cleaning

Start Making a Change Today

There’s no time like the present to become more Eco-friendly. Use this guide to start transitioning to more environmentally-friendly dry cleaning practices. 

Check out the blog to discover more ways to manage your business and lessen your impact on the planet.  Contact us today to learn more about dry cleaning management software. 

Currently, almost everyone is on at least one social media platform, and unsurprisingly, many businesses have pushed much of their advertising and marketing online. In our post ‘3 Strategies for Dry Cleaners To Survive The Digital Revolution,’ we mentioned that for any dry-cleaning business to thrive, they must ride the waves of technological change. 

In particular, they must embrace digital marketing, optimize mobile technology, and make use of innovative e-commerce tools. In another post, ‘5 Facebook Marketing Ideas For Dry Cleaners’, we also discussed that a whopping 90% of marketers make use of Facebook as an advertising platform. But, do you know how many uses promoted tweets?


Advertising online

Among the numerous social media sites, some surpass others based on the sheer amount of users they have. According to Our World in Data, in 2018, there were over 2.26 billion people on Facebook, 1 billion on Instagram, and 329.5 million on Twitter.

 With over 32% of the world’s population on the platform, Facebook remains the most convenient and guaranteed way to have a wider reach. In our post ‘5 Tips For Marketing Dry Cleaning Business With Facebook Ads’, we talked about how Facebook ads can be utilized to generate growth and increase profitability.

 However, that’s no reason to ignore the other platforms, as other social media sites can also be an avenue for you to raise brand awareness for your dry-cleaning business. In this particular post, we will look into how you can efficiently use Twitter to advertise your business.

Why market on Twitter?

About 6,000 tweets are being tweeted every second, which means that every day, over 500 million tweets are being tweeted. Due to the fast and brief nature of interaction on Twitter, growing your brand is made possible, even with just a single word. 

The use of hashtags and keywords allows for a more targeted advertisement. Compared to other platforms, placing ads on Twitter is also relatively cheaper.

 According to an article on Medium, because Twitter does not distinguish among companies, personal accounts, celebrities, or well-known people forming a bond; hence, communicating and networking is also easier. With this, you can effectively grow your influence and brush elbows with people who can help you.

Tips on marketing on Twitter

Given all the fantastic benefits that marketing on Twitter brings, here are some tips on how you can use Twitter as a marketing platform in the most optimal way.

1. Build your twitter profile

In any social media site, everyone is represented by their profile. Hence, creating your business’ profile is a crucial step in marketing on Twitter. Your username will be your Twitter handle, so in making it, go for a unique and catchy one that will represent your business’s name. The same thing goes for your profile photo, bio, header image, and pinned tweet.

2. Be active

Due to the sheer amount of tweets generated per day, post on Twitter may have less visibility than they do on Facebook. As such, the key to staying relevant is by being an active Twitter user. According to Practical Ecommerce, you can do this by 

  • tweeting short tweets often,
  • by interacting and responding to tweets about your business.
  • You can also retweet and mention others,
  • as well as follow relevant users and share mentions.

One underrated feature of Twitter that you can use in marketing is direct messaging. 

Through direct messages, you can give potential customers the option to directly contact you, which can stimulate conversations and build connections.

Forbes project that by 2021 one million minutes of video content will cross global IP networks per second

3. Be creative and controversial

Business News Daily claims the most successful tweets are the creative and controversial ones that can stir attention from tons of users. Users often ignore tweets that are plainly promotional and boring, so in using Twitter for your business, be wary of voice, tone, and subject in each tweet. Some creative ways to get people more engaged are tweeting twitter polls, tapping into trending topics, asking for feedback, and running contests.

4. Go with visuals

Tweets are usually just text. However, looking through texts for a long time can grow tiresome. Luckily, you can attach images and videos to your tweets. These types of tweets are, more often than not, able to get more engagement than just plain ones. Statistics on Maryville University detail that in as early as 2016, 60% of all global mobile traffic was already being attributed to mobile video, and this number has only continued to grow. Forbes project that by 2021, about one million minutes of video content will cross global IP networks per second. Relevant images and videos will make your tweet stand out by grabbing the attention of users as they scroll through the platform.

5. Create a content strategy

Like in any digital marketing plan, a strategy must be devised to ensure that the business will be able to get the most out of it. Since marketing is happening online, you are heavily reliant on content. A content strategy will help you make sure that everything you tweet is not only engaging but also something that your audience will find value in. In doing a twitter marketing strategy, set well-defined goals such as building brand awareness or increasing sales.

Of course, making all the work you put into twitter worth it, is to see it as a complement for a strong online marketing strategy. You need to do research to know who is your target audience. Then, use email marketing, keep other social networks updated with relevant and engaging content.

Don’t forget to name your digital media accounts when you use traditional marketing such as flyers! You never know where and who can end up with that flyer!

Post exclusively written for enlitepos.com

by Jordell Brick

So, you’re looking for new and innovative ways to help your business stand out amongst the competition. 

According the IBIS World, the dry cleaning industry is set to be a $9 billion industry. With over 35,000 cleaners through the United States, it can be difficult to stand out among your competition.

Dry cleaning industry is set to be a 9 billion industry

New dry cleaners are popping up each and every day, meaning it’s important that you keep your finger on the pulse to avoid being left behind.

Well, there are a wide variety of ways to attack the competition and carve your own piece of the market share for your laundry or dry cleaning service. 

In 2019, there are over 35253 cleaners throughout USA

And if you know a few tips and tricks, and abide by them, you can even help your business become the industry standard!

But how do you find new and creative ways to make sure you’re one step ahead of the competition? And is competing in business something you should focus a lot of time and energy on?

If you’re asking yourself these kinds of questions, wonder no longer, because we’re here to help! 

In this article, we’ll give you some pointers you can use to beat out the competition in your field!

Let’s explore the different options you have to take on your competition.

1. Know What Your Competitors Are Doing

In order to stay ahead of your competition, you first have to have an idea of what it is they’re doing. That’s why it’s a good idea to know what strategies your competitors are using, or more specifically, which ones are working. Take what works for them, tweak it, and make it work for you and your business.

You never know, you may find something that helps you grow your business and take it to the next level!

2. Know What Your Customers Want

At the core of every business, regardless of the field, is the customer base. And it’s safe to assume that, without making the customer happy, you’re not 

going to be able to compete with other businesses in your niche.

Learn more: How To Boost The Customer Experience At Your Dry Cleaner

That’s why it’s important to take the time to communicate with your customers often and figure out what it is that they want. Surveys, in particular, are a great way to get direct feedback about what you’re doing right and what you could be doing differently. An idea directly from a customer could be the next-big-thing in your industry that moves your business ahead of everyone else.

Learn more: 6 Ultimate Benefits Of Customer Service Management

3. Find Creative Ways to Stand Out

One of the best ways to handle rising competition is to stand out amongst the competition by doing things a bit differently. Now, it’s up to you to find creative ways to do this, but it can go a long way in helping you carve out your own piece of the marketplace.

Something as simple as a game night once a week, or sponsoring a youth football team, is a great way to engage with your community and get involved at a local level. And if your business is the only one in your field doing something like this, it can help you grab the customers’ attention first.

Learn more: The Right Way To Upselling Dry Cleaning Customers

4. Spend Money on Marketing

Believe it or not, it actually does take spending money to make money. And if you want to grow your business, or handle the rise in competition, one of the places you have to spend the most money is in marketing.

Looking for a particular marketing strategy to pursue? Consider social media marketing.

For instance, the social media website Instagram has over 1 billion monthly users. Invest in a social media marketing expert who can help you create an Instagram marketing strategy that can help your business take full advantage of a platform of that size.

Learn more: Dry Cleaner Marketing Checklist

5. Improve Laundry and  Dry Cleaning Processes

The majority of cleaners offer the same products or services. 

So, what can you do to create a competitive advantage by differentiating your business? 

Improving your processes can help you:

  • Lower costs
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase revenue

What areas of your business can you consider to improve?

  • Assembly
  • Billing
  • Customer communication
  • Garment tracking
  • Reporting
  • Customer acquisition

Take billing, for example, many cleaners have told us they spend hours even days working on billing.

In Enlite, you can manage your entire billing process in minutes rather than hours.

For example, if you are managing a route. You can filter all of your route customers with one click. With one more click, you can charge all of the route customers. You can even print out or email statements.

Learn more about how you can save time on billing with Enlite by going here.

6. Take Care of Your Core Customer Base

With so much effort put into marketing, and gaining new customers, it can be easy to forget about the customers you currently have. That’s why it’s important to make sure you do everything you can to keep your current customer base satisfied as you continue to grow.

Learn more: How to Boost Customer Retention

A clever way to take care of your current core customer base, while also gaining new customers, is to create a referral program. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best form of advertising, and again, your current customers will appreciate whatever it is you decide to gift them for the referral.

7. Create a Great Place to Work

It’s important to remember that running your business the right way goes beyond you, the business owner. If you have a staff, they’re also responsible for helping your company stand out amongst the competition.

That’s why it’s important to create a great working environment. A place where your employees like to be. 85% of Americans don’t enjoy their current jobs. Do everything you can to make sure your employees are in the 15% of people who do.

8. Make Sure Your Business Looks the Part

If there are one area businesses often overlook, it’s their overall presentation visually. From the way your employees dress to your building itself, your company’s look is something you should be picky about.

So spend some time ensuring that your dry cleaner, at worst, looks the best out of everyone else in your field. Potential customers will take notice, which of course, can help you stand out in a positive way.

Here is a quick list of tasks by Business Insider you can complete to make your business look more professional:

  • Invest in a great website
  • Keep up with social media
  • Keep on top of customer feedback
  • Get media coverage
  • Have a great logo and brand

Infographic handle rising competition dry cleaning enlite pos

 

Conclusion

Those are a few tips and tricks for competing in business that you can use to make your business even more successful and beat competitors!

Remember, first and foremost, it’s important to have an idea of what exactly the competition is doing, their strengths and weaknesses. So take some time to scout out your competitors and figure out what it is they’re doing that works, so you can apply it to your business.

Talk to your customers, learn what they want, and take care of the customer base that you already have while trying to grow. Spend some money on marketing, and make sure your employees are happy, too.

Looking for more creative ways to succeed in business? Visit our blog to find more helpful insights.

As the owner of a business, sending out business invoices can seem like a repetitive task that doesn’t require your full attention. However, it’s absolutely essential to make sure that you do give the customer billing process your complete attention if you want to make sure that your business keeps a positive cash flow. 

Even if you understand that invoices need your attention, sending invoices to your dry cleaning customers simply informing them of the amount that’s owed to you can make you come across unprofessional. Not to mention, it’s not the most effective way to communicate to your clients that their bill is due.

To make sure that you’re getting properly compensated for your dry cleaning services, it’s important that you send a flawless invoice. What other bad practices should you avoid when creating business invoices

Keep reading to learn more about the not-so-best invoicing practices! 

Bad Invoicing Habits to Break 

Improving your billing and invoicing process will ultimately help your cash flow. In the rush to get your invoices out, sometimes you may forget to add a thing or two. The bad invoicing habits that your company has needs to be put to a stop so that you can get paid for everything that your company is owed.

1. Sending Late Invoices

If your customers don’t receive their invoices, how will you be paid?

In addition, if you send out invoices months after your clients have used their services, it’s likely to cause confusion. Typically when customers are unable to remember a transaction, they’re going to dispute the invoice. 

What is the most important step to getting paid quickly? Ensuring invoices go out on time.

2. Not Sending Clear Information

The invoice you’re sending out needs to state what service the charge is for. What services did the client purchase from you? Did your client purchase any physical goods? 

In your invoice, you should provide a practical amount of detail so the customer knows exactly what they’re paying for. You should also take the time to make sure that the invoice is easy to read and presents professionalism.

Handwritten invoices or invoices that use a font that’s hard to read don’t represent professionalism. Using invoicing software will help to make sure that your invoice looks professional and is an effective way to communicate with your customers. 

You should make sure that you send out the following information on each and every invoice that you send out: 

  • Due date
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice number
  • The name and address of your client
  • The address of your office 
  • The legal name of your company
  • The phone number for your company
  • Payment terms
  • Tax numbers that your local law requires
  • Itemized list of products or services that you provided to your customer

3. Not Offering Different Payment Options

You want to get paid on time, but it’s difficult for clients to pay you when you only accept one payment option. 

You should consider using a selection of payment options, such as direct bank deposits, credit card payments, or even checks. There are always different payment options opening up on the market, so it’s really up to you to decide what’s the most efficiency for your customers and your business.

4. Not Practicing Good Customer Service

If you’re not adding phrases into your invoice such as ‘please pay your invoice within ten days’ or  ‘thank you for your business’, you could be hurting your business.

Customers want to feel appreciated. By adding simple, polite phrases into your invoices to thank your customers for their business can not only help to improve the image of your brand, but it could also increase your revenue! 

Customers talk about companies that make them feel appreciated. Not only will they want to use your services again, but they’re likely to tell their friends and family about your company too! 

5. Not Keeping a Record of Your Invoices

As you send out new invoices, it’s important that you:

  • Review previous invoices that you’ve sent out
  • Make sure that you’re maintaining a consistent setup
  • Review to see if there are any changes that have been made

If you’ve noticed any changes in comparison to the previous invoices you’ve sent out, make sure that you communicate those changes with your client. Adding extra pieces that have been dry cleaned or if there are any items that your client has purchased from you, make sure that’s communicated with your client. 

Communicating these changes will avoid any additional questions from your client or disputes, which would delay your payments. Making sure to avoid poor record-keeping, as this will not only help to streamline your invoice process, but it’ll help to improve the relationships you have with your clients and how quickly you’re paid for your services. 

6. Not using a billing system for your cleaner

Many of the bad habits mentioned above can be fixed when using a software billing system . Incorporating software into your cleaner’s billing process will help you:

  • Monitoring customers invoices paid
  • Quickly invoice clients in a timely manner
  • Manage billing cycles
  • Segment customers and payment types
  • Manage different forms of payment: check, cash, credit card, ACH, etc.

Enlite Pos Billing System

Most importantly, billing software will help you save time and money. 

Learn how billing software for cleaners can help your business!

Conclusion

Your invoice isn’t just a method that you use for receiving money for the dry cleaning and laundry services that you’ve offered your customers. It’s also the opportunity to show your customers your courteousness, professionalism and transparency.

In other words, it’s the chance for you to show your customers why they should keep coming back to you. Take the time to create invoices that help to sell your business.

As you’re building your invoices, make sure that you’re aware of the most common mistakes that businesses make when creating business invoices. Take the proper steps to ensure you avoid these mistakes! 

Growing your local business is incredibly important to its success. You want to reach as many customers as possible. While you may have a physical location, what do you online is still important. Your business should have a website to provide potential customers with your contact information, the services you offer, testimonials and more. Unfortunately, nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website.

 

In addition to having a website, you also need to ensure your companies SEO is strong. This will help your company rank highly on Google, and make it easier for potential customers to find your business while browsing. Unfortunately, improving your local SEO isn’t always easy or clear. With that in mind, this article is going to look at some of the best strategies to increase your organic search traffic, local or otherwise.

Set Up a Google My Business Account

If you want to get more local traffic to your business website and into your business itself, you need to have a Google My Business account set up. Creating an account is free and it will allow you to establish yourself on Google. Having a business profile through Google My Business will allow your customers to quickly and easily see everything from your website, your hours, your address, phone number and even regular updates.

 

In addition to having this account, you should also look to optimize it. Be sure the information is accurate and kept up to date. Also, be sure to verify the listing and answer any questions or concerns people may leave. Doing all of this will also help Google to authenticate your business.

Perform Quality Keyword Research

(via: https://pixabay.com/photos/keywords-letters-scrabble-word-2041816/)

While SEO can be complex and is full of lots of moving parts, a lot of it comes down to keyword research, anchor texts and making quality content. In order to increase organic traffic and boost your SEO, you need to include certain words or phrases in your site content. People search for certain keywords, so be sure you rank highly for them. There are plenty of different tools that can help you identify and choose which keywords and anchor texts you should aim to use.

 

Of course, if your aim is to improve your local SEO, you need to have keywords that are relative to your local customers. For example, if you’re a plumber in Atlanta, you should try to rank highly for terms such as “Atlanta plumber” or “plumber in Atlanta”. Be sure to read more about anchor texts and how to perform adequate keyword research, as they can help increase your organic traffic by leaps and bounds.  

Use Social Media Effectively

Social media has changed the game for businesses all over the world. In addition to helping you reach customers, you may have never otherwise reached, social media has made it easy to connect and interact with your customers. Social media (at least in terms of SEO), is best used for creating content to either let customers know about your products and services or answering their questions.

 

You need to educate those in your local area (and beyond) about the benefits of your business and give them reasons to convert into customers. You can even create content or posts based on things happening or news in your local area, and potential customers could take notice. So while social media is great for online-only businesses, it also holds a lot of value for people looking to improve their local SEO and traffic.

Encourage Customers Leave Good Reviews

(via: https://pixabay.com/photos/finger-feedback-confirming-3530353/)

Reviews can make or break the success of a business. While some will write good reviews on their own after a great experience or great service, others may not. As a result, be sure to encourage that customers leave you a review if they have a positive experience. Being highly reviewed will show the algorithm that your content and company is valuable to your customers.

 

In addition to improving your SEO and reach, these reviews can also have a major influence on future buyers or customers. Many people trust online local reviews greatly, and if your company has plenty of great reviews, it could encourage more people to become your customers. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for a review at the point of purchase, consider sending a post-purchase email.

Utilize the Various Online Business Directories

While some people will simply Google a keyword or term to find a company, many others will use online business directories. These directories (such as Yelp, YellowPages, and FourSquare) allow people to search and browse through specific companies in their area. Getting your business name, information, address and phone number into these directories can help increase your visibility and SEO alike.

 

While Google My Business covers many of the same things, there is nothing wrong with extending your businesses reach as far as you can. The more places your site or company are listed or visible on, the more traffic you will have.

 

In conclusion, we hope that this blog post has been able to help your business increase organic search traffic.

Want to kick profitability into high gear? Then, set goals for your dry-cleaning business in 2019. It’s a critical activity you should undertake annually to get the most out of your business for the year. It’s also a proven strategy that can help create a competitive advantage.

Setting goals works. It provides direction for your business. It keeps you focused on what’s important. And it sets the stage for ongoing success. More importantly, it forces you to refine the strategies you’re using to run your business. Just make sure the goals make sense for your business and that you revisit the process periodically.

Setting Goals is a Challenge

Setting goals is a challenge if you’re new to it. Key steps in the process include breaking down your goals into bite-sized pieces, tracking progress, owning the process, building a support system, and staying flexible.

Additional keys to setting goals include:

  • Keep your eyes on the prize
  • Accept imperfection
  • Be ready to change directions
  • Keep moving forward
  • Think positively
  • Celebrate your successes

This article provides more help with setting goals that will keep you from floundering when doing it.

Examples of Annual Goals

Below are examples of goals that can help you drive profitability. But some goals will work better for you than others. So, pick a few from the list, then turn them into SMART goals before you incorporate them into your business. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound:

  1. Cut business expenses — Cutting expenses boosts your bottom line directly. Often, it’s the difference between finishing in the red or the black. Just make sure you spell out exactly how you’re going to do it. Then, develop strategies to achieve the goal
  2. Pump up productivity — Increasing productivity inflates the bottom line directly. Using productivity apps, for example, can help you boost productivity. Other suggestions for increasing productivity include improving the way you use email and reducing employees use of cell phones in-store.
  3. Enhance customer service — Enhancing customer service is another way to kick profitability into high gear. So, set a goal of delivering epic customers service. Adding new business services, like home delivery, is one way to do it.
  4. Boost traffic to your website — increased traffic to your site boosts sales and customer loyalty. Many ways exist to skin this cat, like implementing a solid content marketing strategy. If your site lacks a blog, for example, start one.
  5. Reduce paperwork — Going paperless isn’t right for everyone, so review the pros and cons of doing it before you choose this as a goal. Going paperless cuts costs and boosts productivity. That, in turn, pumps up the bottom line.
  6. Increase your share of the market — Boosting market share increases competitiveness and profitability. But before you try to do this, do some market research to determine what strategies will work. Five ways to increase market share includes:
  • Stay relevant by innovating
  • Increase responsiveness to customers
  • Use ideas suggested by consumers
  • Buy competitive dry cleaners
  • Stay flexible to seize new marketing opportunities

 

But if you really want to kick profitability into high gear, install a dry-cleaning POS software system like Enlite’s. That strategy gives you a head start in achieving many of these goals discussed above if not all of them. It also puts you in control of your business without costing you an arm and a leg.

Best Practices to Help Your Employees Learn How To Use Your New POS Software Solution

Let’s face it. Installing a POS software solution at your dry cleaners offers numerous benefits. It increases efficiency, streamlines assembly, and boosts productivity. It also speeds inventory management, and improves accuracy throughout your entire operation. These are major benefits for your business that can take your company to the next level

But many employees hate change—especially when it comes to new technology. Over time, they get comfortable with the knowledge they possess, the skills they’ve mastered, and the nuances of their jobs. So, expect some push back from employees on the POS solution. But If they aren’t using your new software, you’ll have wasted your time and money.

The question is: How do you get employees to use the new software? The quickest and best way is with training. It encourages employees to learn new software and makes the transition as painless as possible. Making the transition will boost both customer service and brand loyalty, increasing profitability.

Below are seven best practices to help you with training workers on POS software solution quickly and seamlessly:

1.      Learn the software yourself

Learn how to use the software yourself. It sets a good example for employees and tells them how critical it is to learn the new solution. Also, since the solution will drive your business, make your employees know at least the basics of using the software—even employees that don’t interact with customers. They might need to use it in an emergency.

2.      Define clear learning objectives

Set definite, measurable learning objectives for your employees. Make them performance-based objectives and achievable. That gives employees a target to shoot for when training. But be careful when setting goals. If they’re too burdensome, they’ll turn employees off to the new software.

3.      Use online training materials

Online training beats classroom training hands down. It’s cheaper than classroom training. It’s much more productive. And it’s more effective.

Online training often employs microlearning techniques, which break learning into small bits. That speeds the learning process and boosts retention.

Take advantage of any video tutorials vendors have on their websites or on YouTube.  They’re great learning tools.

4.      Setup knowledge bases for employees

Employees seldom retain everything they learn. Setting up a knowledge base helps employees refresh their skills when they want to do it.

Employees can access them on demand to continue learning about the POS solution without needing external assistance. Doing so cuts down on the number of help calls employees make while working.

5.      Gather feedback from employees

Feedback is critical in software training. It helps gauge employee acceptance of newly introduced software. It lets you make necessary improvements in your training effort. And it helps employees share the challenges and concerns about the new POS software.

So, make sure you create tools to measure the effectiveness of the learning program. They will give you a reading on what’s going on. Also, make the feedback mechanisms anonymous.

6.      Provide continuous support

Keep training going on after you introduce the software. Employees may still be uncertain of using the software even after the initial training. Where possible, base training on roles and responsibilities.

Providing continuous training shores up any initial training the employee may have had already. It also positions you to make improvements based on queries, suggestions, views, and doubts that employees provide.

7.      What’s in it for me?

If you want to drive usage, explain how the employee benefits from the learning the software. They need to feel like they’re part of the solution and that you’re meeting their needs.

That increases the likelihood that employees take learning the software seriously. You also need to make sure they understand why the software and the associated training are so critical to your business.

Include these seven best practices in any learning program you develop. They’ll enhance learning, limit questions while employees are working, and smooth the transition to your new POS software solution. That, in turn, will boost efficiency, productivity, and profitability at you dry cleaners.

 

Learn The PROS Of Adding Automated Tagging To Your Dry Cleaners Process

Profitability is everything in business. So is productivity. The more you get done with a specified time, the more profitable your business. That’s as true for big companies as it is for small and single store businesses.

One way to increase profitability and productivity at your dry cleaners, you need to find strategies to streamline and simplify processing operations cost-effectively. That’s a sure-fire strategy for success.

Opportunities to boost productivity and profitability, however, don’t always have to mean major changes to store operations. They can mean making small changes that save you short amounts of time during a workday.

These short amounts of time can add up over the course of a day—especially if it’s a busy one.

This new-found time is valuable—very valuable. It’s time you can spend doing more important things, like helping customers with orders.

That, in turn, can help build customer loyalty and increase word-of-mouth advertising—boosting growth at your storefront and increasing your store’s profitability.

Processing Clothes Manually can be Costly

One business area where you can save time is during assembly. The term “assembly” refers to the identifying, tagging, ordering, and returning of garments. This area of your business is often among the most overlooked of all processing operations.

It shouldn’t be. Processing clothes correctly is critical to delivering excellent customer service. After all, the tag you place on each garment is the only link you have to your customer. Lose that link and it can cost you.

Basically, you have two ways to process clothing dropped off at your store: manually or using an automated system. Many dry cleaners still process clothes manually.

It’s a system that dry cleaner owners and managers are both familiar with and comfortable using. And it’s been getting the job done for years.

 

Steps in Manually Processing Clothes

While each storefront’s manual processing systems may differ in some respects, most take basically the same steps to check in clothes manually.

After customers drop their clothes off, an employee takes the garment or garments to the collection center along with a duplicate copy of a customer’s receipt.

An employee then starts making out tags for each garment. That involves writing the right information on each ticket. Tags carry vital information, such as:

  • Customer identity
  • Order Number
  • Service to be performed
  • Due date
  • Any additional order information (if required)

After writing the vital information on the tag, the employee then attaches the tag to the clothing. The garment is now ready to be processed.

With luck, the tags will remain on the clothes right through cleaning, and the customer will pick up the clothes on the day appointed and /or be delivered to the customer at home on time and in good condition.

Error-Prone and Time Consuming

While manual tagging is simple and straightforward, it’s also error-prone. The system is so full of holes that it’s easy to make a mistake—especially if employees aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing.

If there’s a lot of clothes to tag, for example, or it’s busy with customers coming in and out, employees can get confused and write the wrong information down on the ticket, attach the wrong tags to clothes, or miss tagging a piece of clothing.

Manual processing is also time-confusing. It takes anywhere from three to five minutes to write out the tag and attach it to each garment properly— sometimes more. If you have a busy day, the time you spend tagging garments adds up.

That’s all time you could spend with customers answering questions, telling them about new services, or discussing potential specials that might be coming up or are going on. Even taking time to talk about local events builds customer relations.

Tagging mistakes can also cost you money. Replacing lost clothes is expensive. That’s money that comes directly out of your pocket. Given the price of clothes these days, that’s something you want to keep to a minimum.

Boosting Customer Service and Customer Relations

The “holes” in manually processing clothes during assembly is why more and more dry cleaners are replacing the manual approach with a POS software solution that includes an automated garment tagging feature.

Automated tagging systems use barcodes to help track garments through every stage of the assembly process—from store to workshop and back again. Some tagging systems even let you print your brand on the tag. That’s great advertising for you and your storefront.

With an automated garment tagging system, you can use either preprinted barcodes rolls (single use) or heat-sealed tags (multi-use) to track their customers’ orders.

With a heat seal printer, you can easily add a barcode to your customer’s clothes. Typically, barcodes last up to 500 washes.

Using barcoded tags printed through the POS system eliminates garment losses. It also eliminates delivery mistakes. That gives you an almost foolproof system for intaking, processing, and delivering customer garments.

 

Adding Garment Tracking Creates Powerful Tool

Adding an automated garment tracking system, like Enlite’s LARA, to a POS with an automated tagging feature creates a powerful tool that provides numerous benefits. These include:

  • Speeds garment intake
  • Eliminates tagging errors
  • Cuts assembly time dramatically
  • Increases employee efficiency
  • Streamlines operations significantly
  • Facilitates employee training time

Benefits like these can’t help but boost customer service to the next level, build customer loyalty, and generate word-of-mouth advertising. Do these three things and you’ll boost not only productivity but also profitability.

 

Learn about the Advantages of Offering a Dry-Cleaning App for Your Customers’ Convenience

It’s no secret that the dry-cleaning industry is facing some challenging times these days. Bankers used to bring in suits all the time.  Churchgoers used to bring in their Sunday best in the fall. And professionals used to bring in formal workwear the year round. Business was good.

Not anymore. Causal workwear, fast fashion, and other clothing trends have made an impact. How much of an impact? Garment-Cleaning revenues dropped from $11 billion in 2010 to $9 billion in 2017, says IBISWorld.

If you own or manage a dry-cleaner and you want to survive long-term, you need to find new ways to increase profits and generate a competitive advantage. Investing in technology in the form of mobile a dry-cleaning app is just what the doctored ordered.

Using the right mobile apps can help you expand your business, boost customer service, and engage customers. That, in turn, can drive profits up significantly. Best of all, today’s apps rapidly pay for themselves.

Benefits of Using Mobile Apps

Some people think mobile apps are strictly for big name brands, like Walgreens or Bank of America. Not so. They work for any business—large or small—that wants to boost profits.

Here are eight ways mobile apps can drive more business:

  • Increase visibility with customers
  • Create a direct marketing channel
  • Boost your value to customers
  • Build brand reputation and recognition
  • Improve customer service and engagement
  • Helps differentiate you from competitors
  • Cultivate customer loyalty

When combined with a point-of-sale software system, like Enlite’s, mobile apps take customer service to the next level, cut operations costs, and boost profits.

Stay Connected with Customers

Mobile apps can help you stay connected with customers where ever they go. It’s like bringing your storefront to customers anywhere anytime. The right mobile app, for example, can even provide customers with in-depth access to your services from their mobile devices, boosting customer experience.

With Enlite’s POS customer mobile app, for example, you can let customers:

  • View their open and past orders as well as review order details, including the items that make up the order.
  • Get push notifications where ever they are and keep them abreast of what’s happening with their items.
  • Pay orders online with their mobile devices using one of several payment providers, giving customers the freedom to choose how they pay their bills.

Enlite’s mobile app also lets you share promotions and discounts with customers. A white label product, the app lets you add your logo to it and change colors to promote your brand.

Streamline Processes, Better Manage Operations

Mobile apps can also help you streamline processes, cut costs, and better manage operations. Enlite’s driver mobile app, for instance, provides powerful routing and delivery capabilities that let you implement pickup delivery services for busy customers. The convenience this service offers customers increases your value to them.

Enlite’s driver app also lets you seamlessly manage routing and delivery activities. You can add customers to routes from multiple screens, set up as many delivery routes as needed, provide a “snapshot” of customers on the route, and determine how many invoices you need to deliver to customers on each run—all while controlling costs.

Looking to boost profits at your dry-cleaning storefront? Then take advantage of the powerful capabilities of today’s mobile apps. When integrated with a robust POS solution like Enlite’s, mobile apps can cut costs, better manage operations, and boost customer service. It can even help enhance customer experience, building brand loyalty.

Do those things and you’ll increase profits and generates a competitive advantage—all while boosting your chances of surviving and thriving well into the future.

 

It’s no secret. The dry-cleaning industry is evolving. The percentage of people who’ve never used dry-cleaning, for example, continues to grow. Meanwhile, the number of infrequent users (once every three months) is dropping.

Owners need to accept the fact that the state of the dry-cleaning industry isn’t as rosy as it once was. To survive, they also need to find new ways to not only produce a quality garment but also show the customers the value of their services.

Dry-cleaners that fail to do this may survive through attrition, but they won’t prosperous. Survival through attrition doesn’t guarantee profitability. Dry-cleaners that fail to find new strategies to prosper in the future will eventually go out of business.

Factors Affecting the Industry’s State

Numerous factors are impacting today’s dry-cleaning industry. Some are obvious. Others aren’t. Whatever the case, these elements are out of reach for dry cleaners looking to change. Below are six of these factors:

• Clothing manufactures making fewer and fewer garments that feature the “Dry Clean only” label.

• Manufacturers are developing “memory-sensitive” fabrics to eliminate wrinkles in home laundering.

• Lower-priced clothing means dry-cleaning’s cost looks more expensive compared to the cost of replacing the garment.

• Many home dryers now have a “steam” cycle to improve a garment’s appearance without ironing.

• The growing acceptance of casual clothing in the workplace is here to stay.

• The drop in the number of smokers means that fewer and fewer will need their clothes dry cleaned after being in smoke-filled rooms.

While these aren’t the only ones affecting the industry, they’re among the most prominent—and most critical.

8 Proven Strategies to Survive and Thrive

Dry cleaning revenues nationwide are expected to be $8.7 billion by 2021, down from over $9.0 billion. But given the industry’s state, it’s clear today’s dry-cleaners must find new strategies to survive and thrive in the future.

Below we look at some of the proven strategies to boost sales and profitability at your storefront:

1. Add laundry services

Some dry cleaners are offering laundry services beyond the usual formal wear as a way to generate additional revenues. Others are offering cleaning rugs and home cleaning, touting their environmental services or making drop off and pick up more convenient.

2. Boost operational efficiency

Automating processes, like installing a POS software system, helps increase operational efficiency. You can then pass on the savings onto customers, similar to what restaurants and other retailers are doing. It’s one way to cut the taxes on dry cleaning services that in some states are considering.

3. Add programs to stay relevant

Another strategy is introducing programs designed to remain relevant with customers. Using a POS software system with the right features, for example, you can add a loyalty point reward program as an incentive for customers to return. Or, you can send emails after transactions so customers can rate your service.

4. Rework employee schedules

Making changes to counter service schedules can help generate additional revenues. Scheduling your best and most personal employees at the busiest times, like in the afternoons, is one way to do it. Customers coming in the afternoon are often more relaxed and more casual, giving employees time to connect.

5. Use social media to promote yourself

Social media is a great marketing tool. Use it to familiarize customers in your area with you and your services. One in every eight people uses Facebook every day, with 53% logging in daily. In addition, 58% of them communicate more online than face to face. Use these trends to your advantage.

6. Focus on ways to gain new customers

Cutting costs can help you “save” your way to profitability. But that strategy is a challenge to implement. It’s better to focus on generating new customers. One dry-cleaner looked at its “curb appeal.” Its awning and signage were outdated. It modernized its awning signage, updated the store, and increased business.

7. Keep print media in mind

Print still has value. Research shows that you can make an emotional appeal and a connection when people see something in print. But think out of the box when doing it. One dry cleaner used the USPS’s Every Day Direct Mail to tell its story to customers. Dry cleaners using this approach have boosted business from 2% to 31%.

8. Try guerrilla marketing tactics

Guerrilla marketing uses unconventional ways to promote businesses. It’s ideal for companies with limited budgets. One dry cleaner sponsored “Free Pants Wednesday” in August. In the third year of doing this, the company boosted revenue by 57.3% and opened 252 new accounts.

To implement these strategies effectively, however, you need to change the way you look at things. Then change the things you look at. Focus on communicating to customers the value they offer.

Dark POS