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How to Pivot the On-demand Laundry Model in Southeast Asia

Getlaundry’s twist on the flailing business model

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 08 Mar 2017

on-demand laundry

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Getlaundry, launched in the United Arab Emirates, where it is now the largest marketplace in the region, has set its sights on Southeast Asia. As of late last year, the company has active operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Many on-demand laundry services and platforms have fizzled out. At its inception, Getlaundry also used a familiar formula as other providers - it had its own pricing and logistics. Later the company pivoted to a marketplace model, where customers could find verified laundry providers through their app.

“We operate like a mall, where customers can come and choose their favorite laundry provider. We, on our part, keep the service quality high by offering dynamic sorting, suggestive capability based on predictive behavior and our in-house A.I capabilities, being a highly tech driven venture,” says co-founder Jon Edward Santillan.

The pivot means that Getlaundry now has to cater to laundry providers. Their value proposition is in the technology - their pain points were retaining their order book in an automated way and developing a high-end mobile app in a cost-efficient manner.

“With Getlaundry’s SaaS solution, not only do they get a high tech product (mobile app) they also get access to the top end CRM system, helping them retain business and keep customer service high,” says Santillan.

Laundry providers can also find more customers through Getlaundry, at next to no marketing spend. For their largest partners, Getlaundry offers a white label solution that also includes a point of sale system. White label refers to a product or service that a reseller purchases and rebrands.

Apart from white labeling, Getlaundry also has two other means of monetization. For consumers, the company takes a transaction fee for each successful order placed through their platform. Small businesses, such as salons or gyms, can also avail of an automated bidding process that matches them with the best possible partner at the lowest possible price.

Santillan is convinced Getlaundry has now figured out the right formula for on-demand laundry.

“Our growth curve after having launched the SaaS enabled marketplace model clearly indicates that we are on the right track. We worked hard to create value in each phase of the entire laundry value chain -- right from how laundry business is managed to how our customers order,” he says, noting that its Southeast Asian markets are seeing increasing demand from both customers placing orders and laundry services looking to enlist as a provider.

 

The challenges of an on-demand model

Even if they have the formula cracked, Getlaundry still has many challenges to contend with. The largest is maintaining a high level of service, given that Getlaundry has to deal with a “myriad [of] laundry providers” in each of their markets. As a measure of quality control, Santillan says they have installed a review and feedback process, which act as sort of a carrot—good laundries are automatically pushed up in the rankings.

Getlaundry measures its success in terms of stickiness.

“For us, the key metric is getting repeat business from customers and we have managed to keep the rate high with almost 90% of our monthly orders coming from repeat customers,” Santillan says.

Even as it tries to maintain a high level of customer service for users already on board, Getlaundry is also focused on obtaining new patrons. The company uses a combination of online and offline channels for its user acquisition.

“We primarily reach out to our prospective customer base via both online channels including social media platforms, email marketing, targeted ads, and SEO. Offline, we run regular lucky draw contests, flyer campaigns, retail mall fun buzz creating activities to spread word via both contests and participation in various consumer events and forums,” says Santillan, noting they are expanding their service proposition to the small businesses who can use their automated request for proposal process.

Given Getlaundry’s traction, it may seem counter-intuitive to some that Santillan recommends not obsessing over metrics.

“Our key takeaway from our experience in running Getlaundry is to focus on keeping the service quality levels high and focus on the client’s and customer’s pain points, as adding value is key. If we are able to execute this successfully, all other metrics will fall into place eventually,” he says.