Today’s busy lifestyles are pushing consumers to delegate routine housework like doing the laundry. This trend has driven the growth of the online on-demand laundry services market.
You may own a traditional laundry business or have an online business that partners with online laundry services. In either case, building a smoothly functioning app will help you streamline your work, attract potential customers, and turn them into regulars. But as with other on-demand sectors like carsharing and grocery delivery, the on-demand laundry sector is highly competitive. In this article, we shed light on important steps for those who want to build a top-notch on-demand laundry app:
- Choosing the right business model
- Deciding on the structure of your app
- Providing a smooth user experience
- Defining and realizing competitive gains
But before digging deeper and finding out how to create rocking laundry software for your laundry business, let’s discover why it’s worth building an on-demand laundry app. Let’s get started!
Three reasons to do the laundry on demand
The on-demand laundry sector is of interest to more and more entrepreneurs and is rapidly gaining popularity. According to a Technavio report, the COVID-19 pandemic is not slowing the growth of the laundry sector, and it’s expected to be 33 percent larger by 2024 than it is today. Here are some of the companies in this sphere that have strong revenue and continue to grow:
The FlyCleaners and Rinse on-demand dry cleaning and laundry services are the present leaders, with the highest annual revenues. However, startups in the “Uber for laundry” domain, such as WashClub and Laundryheap, are successfully competing with these laundry giants.
But what, apart from high revenue, can you gain by creating an on-demand laundry app? Let’s take a look at the benefits customers and laundry businesses can get.
Benefits for customers
By tapping several buttons on a smartphone, customers can turn an unpleasant chore into a lovely evening with their favorite movie, not with their favorite pants. The full-cycle approach of on-demand laundry businesses lets customers book and pay for their clothes to be picked up and returned clean. Extra options in dry cleaners’ apps and other laundry service apps include a choice of scents or chemical-free cleaning so people can get exactly what they want.
Benefits for traditional laundry businesses
For traditional laundries, building an app means increasing brand visibility and expanding the customer base, which leads to increased revenue. But besides this, applications help to optimize business processes. Instead of manually filling in customer data, labeling orders, and creating schedules and routes for picking up dirty laundry and delivering clean laundry, you can let your app streamline all of these processes.
Benefits for online laundry aggregators
Building an app for your startup is a great chance to try your hand at big business. The main advantage of laundry aggregator applications is that startup owners don’t need to invest money in purchasing washing equipment and renting premises. Startups can simply negotiate with local laundries to provide their services and create an app that brings laundry providers together in one place. This way, a startup can invest more money in promoting their brand, monitoring customer feedback, and improving the application to meet customer requirements.
How does an on-demand laundry service work?
In order to know how to develop a laundry app, it’s important to look at how such apps work:
The customer places an order. Using a website or app, a customer places an order and schedules a pickup time.
Service picks up dirty laundry. A delivery crew picks up the clothes to be washed, puts them in special containers, and takes them to the laundry.
Service washes the laundry. After the order has been processed, a professional staff washes, dries, and irons the clothes.
Service drops off clean laundry. When the clothes are ready, they’re delivered back to the customer at an appointed time.
As you can see, with on-demand laundry services, users can turn a monotonous chore into freedom with a few clicks. And with a reliable mobile application, your business can be a loyal assistant in this. But before you start thinking about how to create a satisfying app, first choose a suitable business model for your service.
Business models for on-demand laundry services
Existing companies in the on-demand laundry industry follow one of two business models:
- Marketplace (aggregation model)
If you own a laundry but are struggling to scale your business, the on-site model is for you. You can create a website and an app that enables users to order laundry pickup and delivery at convenient times and for a reasonable price.
The marketplace model is suitable for startups that don’t have their own equipment. This model involves creating a platform where users can connect to different laundry services. Transactions are handled by the marketplace operator, who collects data about users’ locations and preferences to arrange delivery to laundries that partner with the platform.
You can compare these two business models in the table below:
Once you’ve decided on your business model, you can start developing your application.
How to make an on-demand laundry app
Building an on-demand laundry service requires developing a customer app, a delivery app, a laundry app, and an admin panel. These apps are slightly different but work together to provide a smooth user experience.
The customer app includes customer profiles with personal data such as a customer’s full name, address, and phone number. The customer app enables users to:
- Register and log in
- Choose the type of service and add details (fabric, kinds of clothes, detergent preferences, etc.)
- Schedule pickup and dropoff
- Calculate the cost of service and pay online
- Track orders and get notifications
- View order history and review the service
When a customer leaves an order, it goes to the delivery app. Within this app, employees can:
- Get information about orders together with preferred pickup and dropoff times
- Confirm orders
- Set up tracking and change the status of an order when it’s ready for pick-up
- Add locations on the map and build a convenient route for pickups and deliveries
To keep the delivery system running like clockwork, the Rinse laundry service created its own mapping algorithm. Each driver who picks up dirty laundry and delivers clean laundry has a smartphone application that uses a mapping algorithm to match addresses to deliveries and build the most efficient route. With this app, drivers can deliver clean clothes several times faster than if they manually created routes.
The delivery app is connected to the laundry app. The laundry app receives information about an order such as the order number, type of service (dry cleaning or wash and fold), details about fabric and detergents, etc. When an order is completed, control of operations returns to the delivery app.
All these processes are controlled by the admin panel, which incorporates:
- Client data
- Order histories
- Statistics and analytics (income, positive and negative reviews, etc.)
- Data about employees
- Map and calendar views
In a nutshell, both Android apps and iOS apps for on-demand laundry services should be user-friendly and provide customers with comfortable, fast service and provide workers with convenient access to necessary data.
Read also: How to Put a Calendar in Your App
How to design an easy-to-use on-demand laundry app
The quality and speed of service delivery affect your customers’ loyalty. But a user-friendly and appealing design also serves to attract and retain users. To design a smoothly operating on-demand laundry app, you need to thoroughly research your users and determine their pain points. To do this, analyze your competitors and look at popular apps to reveal what elements users like most and what doesn’t work for them. Here are some design tips that can help you create a user-friendly app.
Organize your content
When customers start using an on-demand laundry app for the first time and see a bunch of disordered information, they may close the app without using your services. The way content is placed, its quantity, and the way it’s organized affect your app’s usability. Don’t overload your app interface with a lot of pictures and icons, and don’t put all the information about services on one screen. To avoid this in the first stages of design, you need to carefully work out your sitemap and user flows. Doing this will help you create diagrams that schematically present the architecture and structure of your application.
Let’s take a look at two apps as examples. The content in WashApp Laundry is highly structured. But the problem is that the hierarchy is complex and monotonous, which can confuse users.
To avoid this, it’s best to use different font sizes, highlight the most important information with a different color, and reinforce that information with small icons, as the Rinse application does. These techniques will help you create an attractive and intuitive application interface.
Design a modern and aesthetically pleasing interface
Users form their first impression in just 50 milliseconds. To make sure your application gives a positive first impression, create an aesthetically pleasing interface. To understand how to do this, let’s compare the interfaces of two apps.
The first thing that catches the eye of users when they launch the OXXO application is the background picture. The OXXO app design looks outdated since minimalism and simplicity have long been the dominant trends. Moreover, with the cluttered background image, the text and buttons are hard to see, affecting the usability of the application.
The main rule of aesthetic and modern design is to strike a balance. Try to avoid a flashy and catchy interface. Stick to one style and don’t overload your screens with elements.
The SudShare app is a great example of a modern and aesthetically pleasing design. On the one hand, the interface is minimalistic due to the white space. But on the other hand, it’s filled with bright accents.
Use animations to make actions visible
Design trends are changing rapidly. While a static interface design may have satisfied users a couple of years ago, today it should be replaced by animated elements. Animated designs allow you to liven up your application and improve its usability. You can learn more about animation in our article on how to create mobile UI animations that meet users’ needs.
How to make your on-demand laundry app stand out from the competition
The on-demand laundry services sector has become attractive for startups. New services are constantly entering the market, so the competition keeps intensifying. What can you do to make users want to download your app?
Be eco-friendly. Leaders in the on-demand laundry industry promote the use of environmentally-friendly detergents. We recommend you keep up with this trend and organize a chemical-free laundry. In addition, you can offer consumers biodegradable packaging and the opportunity to choose between scented and unscented cleaning products.
Attract new customers with special offers. Getting customers is as difficult as retaining them. Provide special offers to turn new customers into regulars. For example, you can provide discounts for further orders or give a gift to each new customer who uses your service.
Provide additional care through your app. Some on-demand laundries entice people with small things that show how they care about their customers: cookies at pickup, free button and collar stay replacements, wood hangers, special clothing covers, and more. Use your imagination to please your customers.
Make your service convenient. A lot of laundry services don’t separate clothes and ask customers to do it for them. However, we recommend separating clothes in order to provide your customers with maximum comfort. Also, it’s best to arrange round-the-clock delivery (not only during specific time windows, such as from 6 pm to 8 pm). If you do choose delivery windows, make sure they suit the majority of your current and potential customers.
On-demand laundry apps provide many benefits for businesses. With an app, you can streamline your business processes, offer full-cycle laundry services, provide users with fast and convenient service, and scale your business with minimal infrastructure costs. What’s more, a well-designed and seamless application will give you a competitive edge.