A Service Grounded in Bricks & Mortar

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if customers had an online app to a laundry service that picked up their clothes, cleaned them and delivered them back to their home or business?

In the UK and the USA, on-demand services for clothes laundering and dry cleaning have joined the list of other on-demand services such as cobblers, car valets, dog walkers, and tailors.

It seems wonderfully convenient on the face of it, but drill down and it’s not all seamless and positive. Much has been written about the difficulty in providing appropriate levels of customer service and responsiveness.

In 2014 a UK business launched the Lavanda app, dubbing it ‘Uber for laundry’. A first it was a hit, but as the owner Guy Westlake recently told The Guardian, “customers only responded when something went wrong … if we turned up after 27 minutes instead of 22, they were demanding a refund and holding us hostage on social media”.

Still more has been written about the loss of local bricks and mortar businesses and subsequent impact on physical spaces for community interaction.

In fact, a number of popular online retailers and service providers have reverted to providing physical stores, among them Amazon, to better market their wares and forge closer customer relations.

Retailers of tactile and personal products like clothing, eyeware and jewellery are also extolling the benefits of selling their goods in person, alongside their online channels.

Supermarkets had already concluded this years ago when they first launched their online delivery services, and struggled to gain traction. Research showed that many consumers wanted to touch and squeeze fruit to select based on their preference for ripeness and size. At the deli, they wanted to discuss with the server the cut of meat, poultry or fish they were choosing. They also wanted to physically check use by dates, and read ingredient labels. Granted that while there are many market segments that will forego all this for the convenience of delivery, it remains even today that buying fresh food is highly personal and subjective.

The same can be true of laundry. A random courier [often not the person who will be physically laundering your clothing] picking up your soiled goods is unlikely to take the time to hear about the days and money it took you to have your shirts appropriately tailored; or to find just the right colour silk blouse; or that your mother left you the one-off jacket; or that your grandmother made the throw. He or she is unlikely to take in the details of the level of care you expect in cleaning those delicate and sentimental items.

Discussing your laundry needs with an actual provider can go a long way to assuaging any fears about quality. At Ainslie Laundrette we provide niche services such as cleaning heritage fabrics; providing laundry to National Disability Insurance Scheme clients; and specialist handling of fabrics ranging from leather to cashmere.

As you can see from our website, blog and other digital presence, we’re not averse to progress. We constantly re-define our service to best suit our customers, so watch this space for a big announcement soon about new services we will soon be adding to our stable.

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