Coinless Laundry: New Reality for Laundromats?
Technology is slowly but surely changing the almost-100-year-old vended laundry industry which has long featured coin-operated laundry equipment. One area where this technological change is most evident is the proliferation of coinless laundry payment systems, driven by demand from Millennials and younger generations of customers who rarely use cash for anything.
Many laundromat owners have embraced the trend as well, as it frees up considerable time spent counting and managing coins. It also streamlines store accounting and operations management.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic may have hastened the coinless trend as it motivated both customers and laundromat owners to seek contactless payment options—to avoid germs—and also because coins became (and in some regions remain) scarce.
Laundry Payment Systems
Increasingly, laundromats are offering their customers a choice of payment options—many coinless:
Smart Card Systems - Customers can purchase proprietary debit-type laundry cards to operate the laundromat washers and dryers without coins and a minimum of contact. Customers can easily reload the cards when their balances become low. These cards typically serve a dual function as Loyalty Cards which allow owners to reward (and upsell) their best customers with special promotions.
Hybrid Systems - Give customers the convenience of using cash, Laundry Cards, regular credit/debit card, or payment apps (such as DexterPay or Apple Pay) to operate the laundry machines.
Laundry Card Systems are Reliable
In addition to being more secure and more convenient than cash, laundry card payment systems are more reliable since they do away with coin slides which are prone to jamming—putting washers and dryers out of commission until they can be repaired. In a busy laundromat, out-of-order laundry machines look bad to customers and have an adverse effect on the bottom line.
Increase Laundromat Revenue
Laundry smart cards allow laundromat owners to set up a customized pricing schedule whereby during busier periods, washing and drying costs more, and, conversely, costs less during off periods. This helps owners spread out the customer traffic into their store and eliminate frustrating bottlenecks during peak times. They can also upsell customers to premium cycles and/or vended supplies.
Ease Accounting & Enable Remote Management
Coinless payment systems ease financial record-keeping for laundromat owners as they record transactions automatically. They also enable busy owners to remotely monitor sales and laundry machine operation.
Customer Loyalty Programs
In addition, laundry card systems encourage customer loyalty since they can only be used in the specific store where they acquired their card. Operators can reward this loyalty by offering special customer promotions. For example, after a certain number of visits, a customer might earn a free wash. Or, as another example, a customer might be entitled to a free wash or dry on their birthday.
Offset Rising Utility Costs
Finally, laundry cards make it easier for laundromat operators to increase their pricing in tiny increments—a few cents at a time, for example—to help defray constantly rising utility costs without upsetting their customers with the relatively bigger price increases tied to coin denominations.
Choose the Payment System that Works Best for your Laundromat
At the end of the day, when deciding which laundry payment system to install, each laundromat owner needs to make their own choice based on the needs of their particular cusotmer base. A WSD Laundry Specialist can provide expert guidance based on your market demographics and more. Popular payment solutions include Dexter Laundry's DexterPay, CCI's Fascard, and SpyderWash. Contact us today to learn more.