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What's Your Specialty?

Sep 14, 2023

The two most important words in marketing are “differentiation” and “specialization.”
Differentiation is all about how you are different from the other options you compete against. Notice I did not say “different from all of your competitors.” In some cases, you might be competing against a family that takes care of their own laundry or pressing, a nanny or housekeeper who takes care of the clothes, or maybe even the option of doing nothing. Differentiation is how you stand out from these options, whether it be price, features, benefits, service levels, subscriptions, convenience, pick-up and delivery, or something else.
Here we will focus on “specialization.” This is what your target market thinks you specialize in. Not many drycleaning companies are very good at explaining their specialty. Here’s why: roughly 85-90% of every drycleaning company’s sales come from regular drycleaning items (pants, sweaters, skirts, blouses, dresses, blazers, jackets) and laundered shirts. We’re all basically the same. That’s not good because it is easy for our clients to commoditize us if they see us as all the same.
The remaining 10-15% of sales is typically spread out across 10-20 small ancillary services averaging only 1% of total sales or less. None of these services stand out to clients as a specialty because we don’t focus on them. Why would we focus on something that only makes up 1% of our total sales?
I have a suggestion to stand out from the crowd. Pick three additional services (more than just regular drycleaning and laundered shirts) you’d like to focus on, that could each make up 10% of your sales. Publicize these five services (including drycleaning and shirts) REALLY WELL. 
These five services are your specialties. They are what your company is known for. Make this clear on your website. Constantly remind clients at point-of-purchase and ascend them to use these services. Build your subscription around these specialties. Create specific landing pages for each of these services and drive digital and print ads to these landing pages.
Here are some examples: comforters, alterations, area rugs, drapes and other window treatments, linens (table or bed), Wash-Dry-Fold (residential or commercial), patio cushions, shoes and boots, restoration, and purses.
As your additional three services gain traction, they will create more drycleaning and laundered shirt business. Why is this important? Piece counts for drycleaning and laundered shirts have declined steadily over the past few decades. It is very challenging to generate more demand. You must tap into other service lines with pre-existing demand, not only for additional sales, but to attract clients who are not demanding drycleaning and shirt laundry services.
At In The Bag, we are specialists in Everyday Drycleaning, Laundered Business Shirts, Quarterly Comforter Cleanings, Wash-Dry-Fold (both residential and commercial), and Outdoor Patio Cushions. This mix of services has increased sales more than 22% same source year to date so far in 2023.
Please reach out if you have any questions about this strategy. To take the important position as THE expert or trusted advisor in your clients’ minds, you have to define your areas of specialization. You’ve got this!
Talk soon-

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