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In-Store ‘Extras’ Favored by More Than Half of Dry Cleaners, Survey Shows

Candy and music lead the way in popularity

CHICAGO — We asked: “What ‘extras’ does your business offer your customers who come into your store?”

More than half (56%) of respondents to American Drycleaner’s Your Views survey this quarter indicate they provide extras such as beverages, food, snacks, entertainment, a comfortable waiting area and music. Also, more than half are in favor of extras, be it a piece of candy, a toy, a dog treat or a cup of coffee.

“We give complimentary toys to all kids,” says one respondent. “Bubble gum, hot tea, coffee, chocolate.”

Another respondent says, “We give lollipops for kids and treats for dogs.”

Of those who say they offer food, one-third (34%) give candy and 10% give seasonal items such as apples in the fall or cookies at holiday time. But half of dry cleaners who responded offer no food items at all.

About beverages, 72% of survey respondents offer none. The 28% minority split their offerings between water and hot coffee/tea/chocolate.

Almost half of respondents (48%) offer electronic entertainment in the form of music, TV or Internet service. One cleaner indicates his/her business runs “in-store video signage of our services.”

Another person offers “TV with company commercials,” while yet another has “internal video promotions.”

As far as music “soothing the savage beast” in stores, 50% of cleaners polled indicate they crank rock/pop or a mix. One respondent plays “upscale rock and contemporary.”

Concerning the waiting area, about one-third (32%) provide either tables/chairs or a lounge area, while 43% of survey respondents say their customers stand at the counter. “We have a small retail area,” writes one respondent.

When asked about giveaways, half of respondents say they give items such as calendars, pens, lint rollers, potholders or jar-grippers, with one respondent giving “cupcakes at Christmas.”

“Discount school cards,” writes another survey respondent about giveaways.

Overall, regarding how they feel about “extras,” 56% of survey respondents either favor extras or provide them. The remainder (44%) say they don’t do extras or it simply isn’t for them.

One respondent to the survey says, “Our goal is to make every customer feel welcome and feel that they are important.” A second says, “Good work is way more important than extra gimmicks.”

The American Drycleaner Your Views survey is a snapshot of the audience’s views and should not be considered scientific. Qualified subscribers to American Drycleaner e-mails are invited to participate in a survey they can complete anonymously online.

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