You are here

Messaging Through Better Signage (Conclusion)

Start with a foundation based on simplicity, clarity

CHICAGO — Laundromats rely on signs to help customers enjoy a better service experience. In Part 1 of this article, we touched on some things to think about so that your store can provide the best displays and infographics possible. Let’s continue on that same topic.

When it comes to communicating operating instructions for laundry equipment like washers and dryers; change machines; and payment systems, that’s one area of signage where it’s OK to belabor the point, says Nick Gausling (, managing director of Romy Group, a consultant who works with B2C businesses that stand out through specialization.

“You should clearly outline in numbered format exactly what the customer needs to do, from beginning to end, using both words and pictures,” he says. “Remember that something obvious to you may not be obvious to them.”

Signage type, positioning and orientation can all impact the effectiveness of messaging. For example, Rachel McPherson, creative marketing specialist for Card Concepts Inc. (CCI), favors the use of acrylic tent signs that can be found on top of bulkheads or other visible spots. She believes those messages will be read far more often than a piece of paper taped to a wall.

“Where you can, use V-shaped signs,” suggests John Crossman, CCIM, CRX, president of Crossmarc Services, which buys and develops shopping centers. “They can be seen from two directions. Some signs can only be seen if your car breaks down in front of it.”

Good signage can be a valuable tool that helps a business further its unique brand, yet McPherson says she’s seen many laundromats that simply use “Laundry” or “Laundromat” as the sign on their storefront.

“I think it shows (customers) a level of involvement and effort for a laundromat to be branded and have some clean signage and be visually appealing when you walk in, vs. the thing that just has ‘Laundromat’ on the outside and you walk in and you shove your clothes in the machine,” she says. “I think it gives them a sense of the owner’s effort and involvement in a location based on how it presents.”

“I don’t know if everyone knows but Google listings don’t like generic signs like ‘Laundry’ or ‘Laundromat,’” says Anne Sechler of West Virginia’s Whale of a Wash group. “When verifying a location, the photographs of the signage must (match) the exact wording or logo that you have on your business listing with Google. We needed to get the logo in there with Whale of a Wash to appease our listing at Google and beyond.”

Given the demographics of the self-service laundry industry, where many immigrant families use such services, posting multilingual signage may be in order.

“Demographics are in a huge flux, with Gen Z constituting the most ethnically diverse generation in American history,” Gausling says. “Immigration is a major driving factor of that change. Any laundromat owner who wants to succeed in the coming years needs to consider their own customer demographics and create signage accordingly.”

“It depends on your demographic, and store owners tend to have a pretty good handle on that,” McPherson says of posting signage in Spanish and other languages. “They know who their people are. I think the distributors do a great job of helping them kind of build those demographic profiles. Here’s kind of the demographic that you’re looking at within your self-service radius, wash-dry-fold radius, you know, whatever services are going to be offered. So, I think store owners typically have a really good feel for that.”

Whatever decisions a laundromat owner ultimately makes about signage, its foundation should be simplicity and clarity.

“In this format for this type of service-based location … the cleaner you can make it, the simpler you can make it, the more direct you can make it, I think the more impact it will have in this particular setting,” McPherson says.

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE

messaging through better signage

“Our signs are posted throughout the interior of the store and also mailed out as postcards,” says Todd Ofsink of Todd Layne Cleaners & Laundromat in New York City. “The message we are sending is to offer a promotion on self-serve laundry with a touch of humor for Sign 1. Sign 2 (is for) promoting our wash and fold service and emphasizing a little creativity, which translates well with our customized way of doing a customer’s laundry with many choices of detergent, fabric protectors, stain fighters and color boosters.” (Photos courtesy Todd Layne Cleaners)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].