A Comfortable Death

Turn industry shortcomings into an opportunity to stand out.
A Comfortable Death
photo by Brian Wangenheim
Table of Contents

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It wasn’t a typical afternoon when I stood in the middle of a self-service laundromat in Maryland. A bag of laundry in one hand and a handful of quarters in the other. 

Looking around, I couldn't help but feel a lot of excitement. 

You see, I wasn't just there to do my laundry. I was on a reconnaissance of sorts, scoping out the competition for our upcoming self-service store.

Throughout my trip, I visited about 10 different stores. I didn't just walk in and look around. I fully immersed myself in the client experience. 

I washed and dried items, interacted with attendants, bought detergent, snacked from vending machines, and even tried to use the restrooms (in one case, I was told no, even though I was doing laundry). I wanted to experience the full client journey.

What I found was a market ripe for differentness.

On a scale of 1-5, the average store rating was 2.7. 

The reasons for these low scores were glaringly obvious:

  • An assortment of other vendors renting space selling products and services.
  • Stores had a hodgepodge of different machine brands and ages.
  • Attendants were often distracted by their phones.
  • Client interactions were far from stellar.
  • Several machines were out of order.
  • Storefronts were in disrepair.
  • Folding areas were limited.
  • Machines out of order.

But the exciting part for me? These shortcomings represent a golden opportunity. 

Here's why.

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