Mastering the game: How to Compete with New Technologies in the Dry Cleaning and Retail Industry

In the era of artificial intelligence (AI) no industry remains untouched by this powerful technology, including the traditional dry cleaning sector.

Artificial intelligence has revolutionized this industry, compelling businesses to embrace it to remain competitive and relevant. AI is introducing predictive analytics and even intelligent cleaning solutions, among other tools, reshaping the business landscape by replacing manual processes.

Rather than viewing AI as a threat, it should be seen as an added value to your business. Let’s explore how AI is transforming the retail sector:

Automation of Mundane Tasks

In an interview with American Laundry News in 2020, Carol Tyler, director of marketing for Chicago Dryer Co., a provider of separating, feeding, ironing, and folding flat work finishing equipment, highlighted the potential of robotics to automate tasks in the laundry industry. “Robotics, for instance, to accomplish these tasks will be one of the technologies laundries will be considering in the future.”

Fast-forward a few years, and AI-driven robots are now capable of performing tasks such as vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning windows and floors, significantly enhancing the cleaning process.

In 2024, AI-driven solutions such as automated lockers for your store or a clothes’ styler in the comfort of your own home are innovating the market and replacing human tasks.

Optimized Operations:

AI algorithms can study historical data to predict their clients’ demand patterns in dry cleaning services. Additionally, AI can handle routine tasks like sorting and tagging clothes, leading to smoother operations, cutting down on labor expenses, and getting things done faster.

Enhanced Quality Control:

AI-powered image recognition systems can detect stains and fabric types with greater accuracy than the human eye.

A good example is the Advanced linen scanning system, a software that utilizes AI to grade linen quality and will reject sub-standard linen based on programmed criteria, minimizing the risk of damage to delicate garments, and thereby improving customer satisfaction.

How to Compete in an AI-Driven Landscape

In the era of AI-driven innovation, dry cleaners, and retailers must embrace technological advancements and adapt their business models accordingly:

1. Invest in AI Solutions: Implement AI in your operational infrastructure, whether it’s inventory management optimization, visual search software, personalized products, or even a chatbot for customer support. Now that the maturity of the market for AI in retail is close to its peak, it’s time to invest in it.

2. Focus on Customer Experience: Prioritize delivering exceptional customer experiences, anticipating their needs, and always exceeding expectations at every touchpoint. Offer upgraded services, provide them with Pickup & Delivery, special discounts, lockers available 24/7, or anything that will enhance convenience for your customers and choose you over the competition.

3. Upskill your Staff: By using AI to provide personalized training and development opportunities for employees, companies can keep their team one step ahead.

Provide training to upskill your team and equip them with the knowledge and expertise to leverage AI technologies effectively.

4. Collaborate and Innovate: Partnering with AI startups, technology vendors, and industry peers to co-create new solutions is the best way to stay ahead of the curve and thrive in a competitive marketplace.

AI is here to stay, and its integration into the dry cleaning industry presents an incredible opportunity for businesses to improve their customer experience, streamline processes, and drive growth.