The traditional model of dry cleaning as we know it has been declining over the years, but the reinvention of this business model towards a more complete concept has been one of the most positive changes to succeed in this industry.
It’s true that dry cleaners are among the businesses that have seen major changes in recent years, due to technological advances, but also by other factors such as the economy, the environment, and our constantly evolving society.
Let’s see the changes that the world of dry cleaners has experienced recently and what the future holds:
Consumer behavior and fast fashion
Young people nowadays are choosing quantity over quality. The social codes have become more casual, even for special occasions, canceling the need to take a trip to the dry cleaners.
The textile industry is focused on offering fast-passing trends, meaning lower quality fabrics at an excessively cheap cost, making garments made with special fabrics increasingly scarce in the market.
On the other hand, millennials and gen Zs don’t have the skills their older counterparts have, becoming impossible for them to sew a hem, remove a stain, or even iron their clothes (a chore they avoid at all costs), turning this lack of interest for this craft into an opportunity for dry cleaners out there that want to stay afloat and diversify to retain this younger clientele.
Lockers and delivery services have become dry cleaning staples
One of the most beneficial changes for both dry cleaners and clients has been the incorporation of the locker in-store service.
This new concept gives clients the freedom to drop off and pick up their clothes 24/7, helping dry cleaners to maximize their revenue in a very simple, innovative, and fully automated way.
Just like lockers, a delivery service is now a must-have in every dry cleaning business out there, looking out for the customer’s convenience.
Location is everything
Dry cleaners used to be profitable no matter their location. However, in the last recent years not only is the geographic location important, but also their strategic location plays an important part in whether they want to continue operating as usual.
Big-city dry cleaners seem less affected than small-town ones, where they have to make an extra effort to stay afloat. At the same time, most of this sector has had to relocate to areas near university campuses, schools where parents can bring their clothes when dropping their children off at classes, or near restaurants and bars that become regular and loyal customers to them.
The rise of self-service laundries
Another major change in recent years has been the multiplication of self-service laundry shops with large-capacity washing machines that are able to clean bulky items such as covers or blankets, becoming very fitting to student households with no washing machines, giving these laundries a slice of the cleaning industry pie.
Nowadays, it’s undeniable that the industry has been more committed to changing its traditional toxic techniques to more ecologically friendly options. Dry cleaners are investing in Wet Cleaning, gravitating toward a more sustainable business model that is less harmful to the environment.
Eco-friendly dry cleaning owners have replaced toxic solvents like perchloroethylene, often referred to as “perc”, with liquid silicone, to get delicate fabrics clean without creating toxic pollution and while avoiding health risks, especially for employees.
The dry cleaning industry has never stopped growing and keeping up with its client’s need for convenience, but even when they adapt to challenging times, what’s never changed is their work ethic and their commitment to providing the best customer service.
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