Demand for contactless laundry services has increased due to the prolonged coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Initially, it was only popular among single-person households, but now it has spread throughout society. Therefore, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) will introduce the procedure of contactless laundry services, the changes they have brought to our lives, possible future benefits from this service, and precautions to take during usage.
What Is a Contactless Laundry Service?
Contactless laundry services, or mobile laundry services, collect laundry non-face-to-face and deliver it back to the client when finished. Local contactless laundry services were founded in March 2019 by the company Laundrygo. By adopting smart technology at laundry factories, the cost of processing laundry has been reduced significantly. Therefore, customers can now use contactless laundry services at their lowest price: ₩8,000 per 3kg of daily laundry. All of the categories’ prices, except for ski wear, are lower than ₩10,000, so people can use this service at a low price. Furthermore, Laundrygo customers have been reported to use the service an average of 3.5 times a month regularly, proving it to be a useful service. The reason why such services have started to prosper is because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people have started to prefer contactless services. While home cooking has developed into meal kits, and the food delivery industry has already begun flourishing in the last decade, innovation in the laundry market seems to have come a little late. However, with the emergence of various business models, changes are accelerating. According to Maeil Business News, the proportion of singlepersonhouseholds and two-person households in Laundrygo consumers is over 60%. As such, contactless laundry services are developing at an amazing rate and are making various changes to our lives.
|Interior of a Smart Factory (biz.chosun.com)|
Changes in Current Lifestyle
More Free Time and Better Quality of Life
Contactless laundry services help people live a productive life by decreasing the housework burden. Several inconveniences can be caused by using washing machines. For instance, if one lives in an environment that uses a shared laundry room, there are inconveniences of moving frequently to use the washing machine. Furthermore, there is also the hindrance of not being able to use it at the desired time. However, contactless laundry services solve such problems. As the laundry is delivered at dawn, this also solves the issue of not having clothes to wear because the washing was done in time. According to Maeil Business News, a male office worker in his 30s, who is part of a twopersonhousehold, said that although he felt tired after work, he could not take a rest due to chores. Thus, he decided to outsource their housework and “buy free time with money”. Moreover, life without a washing machine can increase the quality of life. Some workers who leave work late at night find it hard to use the washing machine at home because of neighbors’ noise complaints. However, by using contactless laundry services, one can wash their clothes without causing noise at late hours. Finally, customers can do laundry regardless of climate issues. For example, washing machines tend to go out of order during winter. By using contactless laundry services, though, one can wash and wear the right clothes at the right time whenever one may desire.
|Laundrygo’s Smart Laundry Bin (donga.com)|
Take a Step Forward from Existing Offline Laundry Services
➊ Minimizing Physical Constraints
Contactless laundry services provide a distinctive service compared to the existing laundry industry. They have an express delivery service, so they can resolve the disadvantages of offline laundry services. People do not have to visit laundry stores. The delivery time is short, which minimizes physical constraints. Also, contactless laundry services use a 1:1 chatting service, and customers can ask their requirements effectively. Additional requirements missed in the collection stage can also be added any time later. Moreover, while offline laundry services had the frustration of not knowing the progress, contactless laundry services let the customer look at the process in a transparent manner: through in-app notifications.
|Delivery Agent Checking the Laundry (getwashswat.com)|
➋ Consumption According to Lifestyle
People can use either free-use or monthly services according to their lifestyle and depending on whether they own a washing machine. Also, offline laundry stores all have different prices and service qualities, so it is hard for consumers to choose the right store. However, as contactless laundry services have a fixed price, consumers can know the exact service price; they do not have to pay unfair prices, which leads to reasonable consumption patterns. Moreover, as the service notifies the customer of the detailed price for each category, price transparency is secured. Thus, contactless laundry services give consumers various advantages in their daily life.
Application to Various Fields of Society
What If Contactless Laundry Services Become a Social Welfare Service?
Contactless laundry services can help three groups of people if it is expanded to the field of social welfare. First, elderly people would benefit hugley from it. Although singlepersonhouseholds are the most prevalent consumers, the age spectrum of the target audience could be expanded through government support and digital resocialization. It is possible to relieve the elderly of household burden through direct welfare benefits delivered to the door. Not only elderly people but also young children in single-parent families can benefit as well. Young children can learn how to access mobile laundry services through their smartphones. Such education could be done at public education facilities and youth culture centers. Thus, contactless laundry services can help solve household problems in urgent situations without the help of parents. Finally, contactless laundry services will be of aid the most to people with severe disabilities. The severely disabled can resolve the discomfort of housework that they find hard to do on their own. Contactless laundry services will surely be helpful to the whole of society if it is provided as social welfare to everyone who feels the burden of housework.
Forming a Partnership with Other Service Industries
Customers would be able to utilize a more comfortable service if contactless laundry services form a partnership with other industries. Comfort could be maximized if hotel customers can also use contactless laundry services. Consumers staying at hotels can enjoy food delivery services, so they would be glad if they had access to contactless laundry services as well. Current hotel laundry services are inefficient because the price is set too high. Therefore, clothes that will not be worn anymore could be delivered to the home using contactless laundry services, and the clothes that will be worn during the travel period could be delivered to the hotel. A partnership could be formed with sports facilities, such as ski resorts and leisure activity facilities. There are currently no companies specializing in sportswear washing and delivery, so this would be an excellent opportunity for both fields. It would ease the burden on the consumers’ luggage. Thus, if sports facilities and contactless laundry service companies form a partnership, customers will be able to access various services more conveniently. Apart from these industries, there are infinite ways contactless laundry services can improve people’s lives through partnership.
|Non-face-to-face Laundry Service That Gives Various Aids (maeili.com)|
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