On-demand apps are all the rage these days. Everything that we need is available at our fingertips 24×7. If you are cooking and you realise that you are missing an ingredient, you can pull up a grocery app on your phone and get it delivered within minutes. If you want to visit a friend but your car has broken down, you can quickly get yourself a lift via a ride-hailing application.
One of the many services that are now available on demand is laundry. Laundry apps have quickly become an important part of our lives, just like the many other services that are now easily accessible to us. How did that happen? Is the laundry service market easily penetrable? If not, what is the right way to make your mark in the industry?
Today, we will talk about the basics of on-demand service applications, specifically focusing on the quickly growing laundry apps industry. We will talk about what on-demand apps are, and what is needed to build a successful on-demand laundry application that will help you to successfully conquer the market. We will also touch upon the business strategies, technologies, and costs associated with the development of a successful laundry app.
What Are On-Demand Apps?
The name itself is quite explanatory. An on-demand app is an app that a customer uses to request a product or service as and when they feel the need for it. Such an app should be available, accessible, and have the right options for the user to choose whichever product or service they are looking for.
The ultimate goal is to give the users an opportunity to avail an offering and save their precious time in the process. An on-demand service should be readily available and provide value to the customer. It capitalises on the need for immediacy. It should not only be the right solution to a user’s problem, but also a quick one, so as to act as an effective bridge between a buyer and a seller.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in the number and variety of on-demand apps available in the market. They cover many areas of life, such as transportation, food, grocery, health and medicine, beauty and fitness, travel and hospitality, retail, and many other essential necessities, one of them being laundry.
Why Choose an On-Demand Laundry App
Choosing to step into the laundry service provision business would be highly advantageous for not only you but also your potential customers. Let us talk about why your customers may be interested in your laundry and dry cleaning app, and the different ways in which it will benefit you as well.
Why Your Customers Would Want an On-Demand App
The ease which web and mobile apps bring to their users is immeasurable. With the rise of on-demand applications, customers have become increasingly accustomed to having all their needs met at the tap of a button.
Paying reasonable sums of money to get everyday chores such as laundry and grocery shopping done by someone else saves them a lot of time and energy which can then be spent doing much more fun things, such as spending quality time with family or watching a movie with friends.
Doing the laundry can be time-consuming, boring, and exhausting. With an on-demand dry cleaning app, customers can avail laundry services at rates that are much more affordable than those of other traditional launderers. They can get their laundry professionally done away from home. All they would have to do is have their dirty laundry picked up, and receive freshly laundered, sparkling clean clothes back within a fixed amount of time.
The laundry services that they want to avail can also be fully customised. Professional launderers offer a variety of options, with many special features and add-ons. Customers can select the pick-up and drop-off day, time, and location, fabric type, detergent type, eco-friendly options, and much more, all with a few quick taps. (We will talk about the features that should be offered in a perfect laundry app in a later section.)
The ideal on-demand app would also have suitable options for online payments. Multiple payment channels would provide the customers with hassle-free modes of payment according to their needs and preferences, making your dry cleaning app effectively functional for easy financial transactions.
Repeated laundry service app bookings and payments would also be performable with the option for customers to save their preferences or details. This would further simplify and streamline the process for customers.
Why You Should Go for an On-Demand Laundry App
There are several reasons why going for an on-demand laundry service app would be a smart choice for you as a business owner or intermediary party.
First and foremost, let us take a look at the rapidly growing on-demand economy, and how the laundry service industry is faring as part of it.
An article published by Rockbridge Associates reports that the growth rate of the on-demand economy over the 2018-2019 period was 19% in the US. On-demand spending in the region has “nearly tripled since 2016.” In 2019 alone, the total spending was USD 110 billion, contributed by 64.8 million consumers. It is also reported that almost half the consumers of on-demand services are under 35, and live in urban areas.
Where the laundry service segment is concerned, Digital Journal predicts a 34% compound annual growth rate in the on-demand laundry services industry by the end of 2024, valuing it at USD 96 billion. They attribute this growth primarily to the increasing prevalence of m-commerce (mobile commerce), the offering of free pick-up and delivery, as well as the time-saving factor that consumers have come to love about this and other on-demand services. Similar predictions have been made by Grandview Research; they believe that this growth is owed to commercial customers who are part of the hospitality industry.
Now that the prospective growth of the laundry service industry is apparent, let’s move on to the other incentives.
If you are a traditional laundry service owner, you can modernise and expand your service provision with the help of your very own laundry app. You already have the services, ready to be offered. With an app, your services would become more accessible to your customers, both old and new ones. With an app, you can also reach wider audiences and target new segments with competitive and innovative marketing campaigns. Getting an app for your business would mean improved return on investment, owing to a boost in sales.
If you are a start-up thinking to gain the upper hand in the laundry business, developing a new on-demand app can prove to be the right business move for you. As is the case with countless other on-demand businesses, being the owner of a laundry marketplace means you can bring together various launderers in a particular geographic region and help bridge the gap between them and their old and new customers. It will serve as a profitable revenue source and, with the right business strategy and technologies, you will soon be able to scale your platform even further.
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We will talk about business strategies in a bit more detail in the next section. Before we move on to that, we need to understand how a typical laundry and dry cleaning app would work.
How Do Laundry Apps Work?
A typical laundry service app is quite straightforward in terms of the process.
Now, there are three important considerations when building the perfect laundry app. First, you must decide on a business strategy. Next, you will have to decide on all the features that you want to offer to your customers via your laundry and dry cleaning app. Lastly, the technologies used in the app will have to be carefully selected.
Business Strategy – Factors to Keep in Mind
As we discussed before, there are two possible paths that you could take when launching your own laundry and dry cleaning app:
- Building an app for your existing on-site laundry business
- Building an aggregator app that serves as a marketplace connecting customers and laundry service providers
In both cases, you need to scout the market for possible competition, and then find ways to come out one step ahead of them. The on-demand marketplace needs to be thoroughly observed to determine the possibilities of success for your business in the economy.
Your pricing will also likely be influenced by competitors’ pricing strategies. You must make sure that the services you offer to your customers are neither too pricey for them to be able to afford nor too cheap to allow your business to stay afloat. For a marketplace, there are multiple options for setting up a revenue stream, such as monthly subscriptions, per-order fixed prices, and commissions.
It is also very important to think about what you will start with and how your business growth will progress in the years to come. Expansion can come in many ways, such as targeting new segments over time or gradually widening the categories of services offered.
You also need to figure out who you are going to work with. You could partner with multiple existing laundry service companies so that they can provide their services through your aggregator app for the right incentives. You can also choose to work with freelancers – individuals who are willing to provide their laundering services to those who need them. Your app could thus be just like an Uber but for laundry.
There are countless other major and minor factors to consider as well, such as logistics, developing customer and vendor relations, handling of payments, and much more. Thus, a lot of thought needs to go into your business strategy.
What Is on Offer?
Next comes the most important part of building your dry cleaning app: the features that are to be offered. These features, combined, would provide a seamless experience to all categories of users in performing their desired functions.
There are two major sections that your app can be divided into:
- The customer portal
- The platform admin panel
For an app based on the marketplace model, there would have to be another module:
- The laundry service provider portal
For customers, there are some features that are quite standard across all kinds of on-demand apps. However, some other laundry-specific features would also have to be included, perhaps something that makes your app stand out from competitor apps.
- Registration/Login form
- Create/Edit profile
- Address book
- Search with filters such as price, time-to-deliver, rating etc.
Booking creation form with the following options:
- Time, day, and location for pick-up and drop-off
- Type of fabrics to be washed
- Choice of detergent type
- Choice of service type (wash-and-fold, wash-and-iron etc.)
- Type of wash (hand-wash, machine-wash, dry-clean)
- Eco-friendly services
- Fabric softener or scent choices
- Track booking status
- Booking rescheduling or cancellation request
- View past bookings
- Multiple order placement
- Price comparison
- Cost calculation
- Customer reviews and ratings
- In-app or push notifications
- In-app payment
- Communication with launderer
- Help and support, perhaps with chatbots or live chat
Next comes the admin panel. As the administrator, you may play the role of either a laundry service owner or the aggregator platform owner.
All parties who use your dry cleaning app for providing their services would want control over the bookings. You would need the following tools and features to help manage things at this end:
- Viewing customer details
- Order approval
- Order management
- Scheduling and relevant reminders
- Delivery management
- Order tracking (with GPS)
- Receiving payments
- Performance monitoring and reporting tools
There are two key functions that you, as the aggregator platform owner, would want to perform:
- Customer and vendor management via a consolidated database
- Monitoring in-app interactions
- Live chat management (this is optional)
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Technologies Behind the Business
In order to provide your users with all the features that you aim for, you need to pick and choose the right technologies when developing your app. In this section, we discuss some key technologies that will help you make your app give your competitors a tough time.
Location is going to be a key part of your dry cleaning app, implemented by combining the map and GPS. For customers, the tracking system will help convey accurate pick-up locations to the launderers and locate the exact position of the delivery person once the clean laundry is on its way. Launderers will also be able to track both pick-up and delivery of clothes to and from the exact locations provided by the customers and ensure efficient routes and timely transportation.
In order to keep all parties informed of all the activities taking place over your app, you need to have an efficient notification system in place. With relevant notifications, customers can stay updated about important events such as reminders for pick-up and drop-off, any changes in the status of their bookings, booking confirmations, new promotions and discounts etc. Launderers can be conveniently informed about new bookings made by customers, order completion, delivery tracking, and much more.
Storing and processing massive amounts of information is a major challenge when it comes to on-demand apps. Your laundry app should be no different.
Customers will trust you with confidential information, such as their home addresses, contact numbers, and payment details. Launderers will want their business’s data to be safe and always accessible. For this purpose, cloud storage works best, as it offers a secure, scalable infrastructure that is always available. Over time, when the volume of bookings and online transactions rises, you can utilise cloud technology for fast and efficient processing.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Two critical components of your on-demand app are chatbots and launderer recommendations for customers. These components can be successfully implemented using a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Your app needs to be appropriately equipped and smart enough to handle customers’ queries and monitor their behaviour while using the app. Your laundry app chatbot should be able to understand natural language and provide informative, relevant, and helpful answers to questions raised by customers.
Similarly, monitoring user behaviour patterns and learning from them will help your app make useful recommendations to customers. For example, if your app notices that a particular customer tends to be most concerned about the price factor when making a booking, it should recommend the cheapest options to them the next time they are looking to make a booking.
Analytics and Reporting Tools
Launderers that choose to sign up on your platform as service providers would be greatly interested in monitoring their business’s progress. They would want to see how they have been performing over time, and whether or not they made the best decision when they partnered with you. For this purpose, it is important that you give them the right tools, such as a user-friendly yet technically sound dashboard where they can receive important insights into their performance.
The development process for laundry apps like Cleanly
In order to build the perfect laundry app, you must follow the proper process. The development of a successful laundry service app involves four major steps.
Let’s discuss these steps briefly so that you know what you are getting into before you make your final decision.
Before you dive into the resource-heavy task of developing an on-demand laundry app, you need to conduct thorough market research. Explore all aspects of the idea to ensure that you know exactly what you are about to get into. You must fully understand the specific problem(s) that you are looking to address and how your app will effectively address the said problem(s).
Think about what route you are going to take with the development process, from start to end. Perhaps you could go for a minimum viable product first, and then build on it further as time passes and your consumer base expands.
You can only move on to the next step once you have made up your mind and are absolutely clear on the requirements for your laundry app.
In this step, you need to figure out what your laundry service app will look like and what features you will offer to your users.
We have already talked about the features in previous sections in quite a bit of detail. Here are some more aspects of your app that you need to incorporate to guarantee the success of your app:
- Smooth user experience
Once the features are decided, the design phase moves into wireframing and prototyping, where an outline of your app’s user interface is drawn up using either a minimalistic approach (rough skeletal sketches) or a much more detailed one (detailed diagrams and digital drawings).
Now comes the time to choose which technologies you want to work with. Often, clients are not very well-informed about the best, most suitable technology options so they leave this decision to the software development company that they hire. However, if you do have the required knowledge, it doesn’t hurt to listen to a second opinion with an open mind.
Once the technologies have been finalised, the development process begins. You can go for the more expensive and time-consuming option of hiring an in-house development team. Or you can go for the much more efficient option: outsourcing. Some software development companies, such as ours, give multiple options to clients to select their own development team. There is, of course, an efficient communication channel set up between the clients and the developers so that both parties are on the same page at all times.
Your app is then coded and programmed to life, ready to proceed to the last and final step. However, before that, appropriate testing mechanisms are put in place: the app is taken for multiple test runs to make sure that everything works like it is supposed to.
Once the development and testing phase is complete, your on-demand dry cleaning app will be ready for launch. You can release it to the public through various platforms, such as the app stores, social media, or your own website (if you have one).
As we mentioned earlier, you can also go for a phased release approach, where you launch sections of the app and decide your next steps depending on the feedback received on them. The negative feedback helps you decide which parts of the app users are not satisfied with and need more work, and the positive feedback determines what you have done perfectly.
Since the app development process is so lengthy and detailed, it is obvious that it incurs significant costs. The charges vary, depending on how extensive an app you want to build and how much time and labour would go into the process. After-sales services are also an option that you might want to go for, considering the possibility of a need for updates in the future.
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Needless to say, on-demand apps are the future. The on-demand economy is growing at a commendable rate, and laundry apps are a significant part of that economy. With increasing growth comes increased competition, which means you need to figure out the best path to success.
How you go about the development process of your laundry will have a significant part to play in your ability to capture the market, but that is not where it ends. Your app also needs proper marketing and promotion so that it reaches the people you intend it to reach.
GoodCore is here to join you on your journey to successfully breaking into the on-demand market!