RIPON, Wis. — Ahhh, the millennials. A favorite topic and target for anyone doing business in everything from smartphones to donut holes. What do they want? How do we reach them? How do we keep them loyal to our laundries?
Is there a magic bullet for these questions and converting this demographic into raving fans? Well, plugging “marketing to millennials” into a search engine and seeing the sheer volume of blog posts, articles, etc., there appears to be no panacea. While there are unique variables within any business, often the best we can do is look to those who are having success for advice.
On the topic of millennials, Doug Klingler, owner of Milwaukee’s Your Laundry, has had the right idea for his store since it opened in 2015. He also taps into his daughter’s expertise from time to time — she specializes in marketing geared toward millennials.
In Part I, we examined the basics, providing payment options, and offering programs designed to build loyalty. But there are other things to consider when trying to reach millennials.
RELIABLE EQUIPMENT IS A MUST
Millennials want choices. That extends from payment options into the machine cycles. “Cycle modifiers are a big part of what we do,” says Klingler. But again his focus on this audience is about hands-on education through a great staff.
Being close to a couple of colleges, the laundry often sees freshmen stop in with an armful of clothes but no experience doing their own laundry. They select the largest-capacity washer, the highest soil level. Staff focuses on helping them figure out the right size of machine and run through the cycle options to match the soil level and results they desire.
Having those cycle options, giving customers greater control, and high wash quality all contribute to that experience and value he believes millennials want.
Dryer speed and efficiency completes that quality experience. Your Laundry has a one-price dry. While customers initially push back that is too high and that they will still have to add time, there’s a big reveal: Klingler guarantees that if anyone’s clothes are not dry when the cycle ends, whatever time is needed to fully dry is paid for by the store.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOCUS
Your Laundry maintains a website and Facebook page to connect with its millennial customer base, though Klingler admits the audience isn’t quite as engaged on Facebook as it once was. So, he’s explored other vehicles. The laundry also has hosted contests for a $75 loyalty card through Instagram.
His advice is to seek out the social media environments where this group is gathering, though it is an ever-changing landscape. What is hot right now likely won’t be as hot in a year.
Klingler recommends that owners who want to tap into this demographic focus on the full package — the clean, modern store; high-quality, flexible equipment with a variety of options; and well-trained attendants to deliver the best experience possible. Your Laundry is so committed to that final point in connecting with millennials that he wants his staff to actually sit down with customers, chat and get to know them.
Finally, vended laundries likely will not appeal to millennials without a loyalty system, he says: “You’re fighting the trend if you are not looking at it.”
Members of this demographic group value their time and will only spend it in places where they are receiving the greatest value for their money. They want a personalized touch; it’s part of the experience.
We all know that the way our business operated in the past isn’t the way it will operate today. We see it every day, and Your Laundry is a great example. Klingler says he hears from people all the time who drive past other laundries to come to his.
Clean and modern may be part of the draw, but the millennials are coming for the experience. They are not just customers who wash, dry, and go home. They, as Klingler hoped, are connecting with the business. They are getting a laundry that puts technology front and center (smartphone app, modern equipment with tons of flexibility), and a loyalty program that rewards them for choosing this laundry.
Yes, loyalty programs are imperative to reaching this audience. From there, it’s focusing attention on that welcoming atmosphere. Remember, it’s about an experience that they want to share in social media. Is your store providing that, along a personalized touch that makes them feel connected to the laundry in real time?
If you missed Part I, you can read it HERE.