Two weeks after the launch, we got to talk to laundry shop owners and customers about their thoughts on Lavandera.ph. We’re glad to have gathered insights from both ends of the target users. As expected, there were minor improvements we had to implement. And there were also rather big-ticket items we need to address.
After careful assessment to such “requests” from the end-users, the Lavandera Team all put their game face on to address the enhancement concerns. Here are the results of our first changelogs:
Thanks to those who introduced us to laundry shop owners, and the latter for their insights on laundry shop operations vis-à-vis the Lavandera app’s relevance to them. Thanks as well to the people who did a sweep-through of the site features so we could get initial end-user insights.
Lavandera: The New Phase of Laundry Shop Solutions
Manila, Philippines – Third Row, a business solutions company, today launched its pilot product offering and introduces the Lavandera web app through the website, www.lavandera.ph.
A Philippine-registered business entity, Third Row capitalizes on modern technology to develop business solutions. Their aim is to put in place systems that streamline the otherwise un-methodical and oftentimes un-secure processes that business owners and consumers alike have been used to.
Lavandera is a web app exclusively designed for laundry shops and laundry shop owners, and all who avail of laundry services–singles, couples, families, and businesses (hotels, dormitories, hospitals, salons, catering, etc.).
Lavandera.ph provides a basketful of features for laundry shop patrons, whose favored laundry shop— whether a community or dormitory laundry shop, hotel laundromat, dormitory clothes cleaner, are signed up with the Lavandera system. The laundry shop owners or operators on the other hand are provided with tools that allow for methodical day-to-day operations of the shop.
An Intuitive and Interactive Approach to Laundry Services
For the Customers, Lavandera intuitively suggests all the nearest laundry shops in and around the site visitor’s area via geographic tagging. Lavandera’s backbone is a listing of laundry shops all over the Philippines, addresses and contact details included. The Search function comes in handy if and when a particular laundry shop is being looked for.
With a quick zoom-in or out of the map, laundry shops right at your building, on your street corner, in the next block, or in the whole city will show up. Users would know if their current laundry services provider is subscribed to Lavandera.ph when its icon on the map is red. Clicking on that icon will have the visitor seeing the shop’s details.
Users can then log in to “Add Shop” that laundry service provider, after which they’ll be ready to endorse their laundry items—one item after the other—with description next to each if the user prefers so. Users have the leeway to go for simple descriptions (e.g., navy blue board shorts) or a little extensive (e.g., gray hoodie with a patch on left chest and applique on the right shoulder). Call it a virtual closet—one that you can access through your smartphone, desktop, PC, or tablet.
As the extended intuitive feature, Lavandera remembers and auto-suggests all items keyed in in last week’s or last month’s laundry endorsement. Users can then just click on the corresponding item that shows up on the auto-suggest list.
As a value-added service, users may opt to receive updates from the laundry shop about the status of their laundry—from when the items were Received, Washed, Rinsed, Dried Out, or Readied for Delivery.
Users may also use the other tools. The Rating Tool allows for grading a laundry shop they favor. This is complemented by a Comments feature, allowing users to key in their two cents about the shop. These features aim to help laundry shop operators to gather customer feedback in a snap. Moreover, users can put forward any new laundry shop not included in the database via the Suggestion tool.
The Digital Age of Laundry Shop Operations Has Come
Like in a real community where laundry service operators establish their business presence, laundry shop owners can mark on the Lavandera map their own shop. Or shops for that matter, in case they have multiple branches. Once set up, they can then add in the shop details like address, contact numbers, shop operator, business hours, and even service rates. The services list is an easy tick-box checking.
Shop owners can also assign or add a Staff to the system. This Staff represents whoever is manning the day-to-day operations of the laundry shop. The same operations officer can conveniently update each customer’s laundry status by choosing an appropriate entry on the pre-listed set of progress updates.
The Staff Dashboard serves as a quick-peek to the laundry transactions being processed for the day. Both the Shop Owner and their Staff can view what‘s newly entered in, pending, being processed, or done and ready for delivery.
As users can provide special instructions how they what their laundry to be cleaned, the Staff is prompted about the customers’ individual preferences (i.e., which items should be dry-cleaned, ironed, hand washed, separately washed, etc.). This important insight may later on help laundry shop operators know their market better.
As a simple laundry shop operations rule, what goes in must go out—completely, that is. The ancient problems of having Customer A’s items mixed with Customer B’s, or horrifying Customer C with the realization that a favorite shirt is missing, are discrepancies Lavandera seek to address. The Lavandera list generated from the Customer’s inputs is recorded, providing shop owners and their staff an easy reference for checking, verifying, and tracking each and every laundry item of their patrons.
Ditching the Old Problems in the Bin
Lavandera’s core features are based on online and face-to-face surveys conducted among laundry shop owners and patrons of their services. Consistent results from such surveys pushed the need to deal with the common problem of lost, mismatched, or wrong laundry items customers hound the shop operators for. Both parties are at a disadvantage when such discrepancies happen. While the customer is frustrated about the sad realization, shop owners are at a lost on tracking back how such problem happened…again…for the nth time. That frustration oftentimes compels the customer to turn to another shop, only to eventually encounter the same problem.
Lavandera.ph seeks to rinse off those age-old discrepancies as toss-in-the-bin concerns.
Some great ideas are borne out of unexpected circumstances. And places.
“My whole bunch of whites went missing…” relates one of our friends after gulping down half of his venti frappe. He was referring to his white long-sleeve polos, shirts, towel, and socks seemingly worn by the laundry shop leprechaun. Further ranting ensued, especially as he learned there was no way he could track back how that group of laundry items got lost. Neither could the laundry shop owner or the staff who handled his laundry explain such horror.
Steam of anger was already fuming out of everyone’s ears (Yeah, we empathize with one another that way). Luckily, before a flaming cloud could engulf the group, a brilliant idea was put on the table.
“What if there was a system that allows laundry shop owners to methodically record and track each laundry item their customers entrust to their shop,” asked one. Everyone tilted their heads up, with eyes wide open, as if saying “Right, it’s about time…” The nods that followed confirmed the group’s consensus. And the laundry shop owners and patrons we surveyed, online and face-to-face, attested further to the need for such a business solution as Lavandera (You’re too many to list down here, but thanks again for your time!).
Each day after that, milestones for Lavandera had to be reached. From purchasing of domain name, to business registration, to deciding on a business model, to market research, to planning of system design, structure and intuitive features, (three deep breaths here) to content population, to system check and quality assurance. (Insert sigh of relief here). Oh wait, there’s still the P.O.S. integration!
Regular meetings were a must, especially that new to-do items each week were like gnomes inking their sly grins on our list. Site assessment, tweaks and improvements–based on strong realizations and learnings–had to be implemented. Meticulous thinking and smart decision-making making had to always be part of every step. No stone left unturned, as one member puts it.
Indeed the journey to putting Lavandera in place had been challenging. Nonetheless, every part was all worth the dedication the Lavandera Team put to it.
Today we’ve launched Lavandera. Today the long-running problem of laundry shop owners and customers has met its match. And the laundry-stealing leprechaun is now ready to move out.