Traditional drycleaners are having a tough time in the pandemic even though classed as an essential service. Footfall in city centres at an all-time low in the third lockdown, and many people who would be using their services are working from home, furloughed or have been made redundant. Whichever of the three, they really don’t need five shirts a week washed and ironed or suits cleaned. So, High Street businesses need to engage and diversify to survive.

Ken Cupitt of the Guild of Cleaners and Launderers held out a glimmer of hope as vaccines begin to roll out in larger numbers, in an Opinion piece he wrote for LCN, (see edited version, page 7 and complete feature online at saying: “I am not sure that continuing working from home will be as universally popular as some think because human beings are social animals and many who worked exclusively from home were already practicing a hybrid of some days in the office and the rest of the week at home (at least until the third lockdown). These people will still have a need for suits to be cleaned and shirts washed.”

He also points out that one thing that has become popular, and the public will not wish to give up, is home delivery and our retail sector may have to adopt, or buy in to, some form of home collection and delivery.”

Jon Beach of DryStream, which provides EPoS systems to drycleaners, agrees with him, saying: “Covid has set the scene for arguably the most challenging times ever for our industry. Revenues are down and there is limited work to keep many businesses going. So it’s imperative that drycleaners do whatever they can to minimise the adverse financial effects of this pandemic.

Beach stresses that hungry competitors will be doing their best to steal the work that is out there so the key is to retain customers and try to secure as much new work as possible. “And it’s often collection and delivery services that will be the most popular right now. It is now time for drycleaners to turn to one of their most valuable assets; their customer database.

“Relying on footfall alone won’t work during lockdown but fortunately DryStream owners have a wealth of tools at their disposal to reach out and connect with customers, particularly the majority that are resisting a visit to the high street.

DryStream EPoS systems automatically create and maintain a powerful database of customers and their past cleaning trends. So it’s easy to see what’s been popular in the past and select customers based on, say, their past cleaning patterns or volumes. You can identify customers that have or haven’t used a particular service or whose turnover is down. Contact is easy by sending bulk text messages and emails while each interaction helps to secure new work and keep competitors away.

“DryStream offers free and unlimited support to help customers eke the most out of their systems to minimise the effects of the Covid downturn on their businesses and keep revenues coming in. Then there’s operational costs which are so essential to minimise at the moment. There are no compulsory on-going costs to use DryStream so many users of other systems ask why they should continue to pay for their EPoS systems after they’ve already bought them. A good question, which is why so many have switched to DryStream to eliminate unnecessary monthly fees and charges,” he says.