Tide to roll out laundry cleaning service nationwide

Photo: Proctor & Gamble
Feb 25, 2019
Tom Ryan

Procter & Gamble announced a commitment to double the size of its current out-of-home laundry footprint by the end of 2020, making Tide Cleaners’ services available in more than 2,000 locations nationwide.

The expansion builds on Tide’s entry nearly a decade ago into dry cleaning that has since included several acquisitions in wash and fold services to meet the needs of the 26 million American households currently using shared facilities or outsourcing laundry.

The Tide Cleaners program includes:

  • Drop-boxes in urban locations: Today, 24/7 Tide Cleaners drop-boxes can be found in seven major cities inside high-rise apartment buildings, offices and storefronts. To use, consumers download the Tide Cleaners app and submit cleaning instructions and the box number and drop their laundry in the box. Tide sends a notification when their clean clothes are ready for pick up. The urban drop-boxes model is quickly expanding, with about 350 new boxes being installed every month.
  • 24-hour stores: Consumers can drop off their laundry at physical locations that also offer services such as alterations and wedding dress preservation. Tide Cleaners currently has over 125 standalone stores across 22 states. The majority are local, family-owned franchises.
  • On-campus van delivery: College students or their parents purchase a monthly laundry plan and deposit laundry in a customized laundry bag. Students can check the Tide Cleaners app for notification of when a van parks outside residence halls, and then hand their laundry to attendants. Tide Cleaners is currently present on more than 20 campuses.
  • Drop-boxes in other stores: Tide Cleaners drop-off and pick-up boxes are being installed in existing retail locations, including supermarkets and other high-traffic areas.

Tide pitches the service as a time saver for consumers. Sonaid Sundar Raman, VP of P&G’s North American Fabric Care business, said, “This new service will complement our existing business and give people the option to get the Tide clean they deserve on their terms, not on their time.”

As noted by PYMYNTS, Rinse, 2ULaundry and SudShare are a few competing on-demand laundry startups.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the scope of the Tide Cleaners expansion make sense for P&G? Do you see more benefits than risks for the Tide laundry brand sold in stores? Should retailers embrace such on-demand services?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"This sounds like a smart move on the part of Tide. They already have name recognition and their name is one that instills trust."
"This will build the Tide brand with the younger consumers who are not likely that loyal or even aware of Tide."
"This should do very well, especially in the colleges, where most of the laundromats I used to visit looked like the basement of a frat house, with very strange people in them."

Join the Discussion!

19 Comments on "Tide to roll out laundry cleaning service nationwide"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Neil Saunders

This makes a lot of sense for P&G. There is a steady demand for clothes cleaning and Tide’s proposition provides convenience from a trusted brand. The drop boxes are a particularly smart innovation. The threat comes to the many independent dry cleaners and laundry shops which currently compose most of the market.

Lee Kent

This sounds like a smart move on the part of Tide. They already have name recognition and their name is one that instills trust. Putting it on the street as a service is a great strategy. I assume the model has proven itself since this is an expansion so I say go for it with my 2 cents.

Brandon Rael

This is an outstanding move for P&G, as they extend what the Tide brand means to customers. Diversification of products and services is the hottest trend for retailers, manufacturers, CPG firms and so on. With the rise of subscription, rental and on-demand services, retailers have recognized the need to diversify their brand offerings, as customers are seeking additional ways to engage with brands.

Any additional stream of recurring subscription-like revenue is such a valuable business proposition for companies, as they face the ebbs and flow of the economy. Tide is already a known commodity, so this is a no-brainer for the P&G team.

Shep Hyken

There’s a number of reasons this could work; a trusted brand, the value proposition of saving time, and multiple locations (more than 2,000) offering access to most U.S. families. Add these together and you have a convenient solution that customers are willing to pay for. I find it interesting that a consumer products company is moving into a brick-and-mortar business but if anyone can pull it off, it is P&G.

Cathy Hotka

P&G has been testing this for several years, with success. This could be a huge hit with “I need it yesterday” Millennials, and an entrance into other services, like dry cleaning. Brands are thinking out of the box …retailers should, too.

Bethany Allee

This is a brand coming out of the Matrix and off the shelves to become it’s own retailer. Fascinating and smart. This is also proof that you need a physical footprint, and folks with huge R&D dollars have done the legwork for other brands. It’s going to be fun to watch how these physical footprints manifest themselves over the next five years. Store-within-a-store, kiosks, lockers — it is fun to watch the way retailers (and now brands!) think about their footprints.

Phil Masiello

Since P&G began this effort, I have believed this to be a great way to embed the brand deeper with the consumer. This just makes so much sense to have a national brand laundry cleaning service.

Others have tried to consolidate and brand this segment over the years. But none have succeeded. It is a great example of a brand stepping out of its box and moving closer to the consumer.

Laura Davis-Taylor
Laura Davis-Taylor
Chief Strategy Officer, InReality
1 year 6 hours ago

In a time where brand extension strategy can sometimes border on preposterous, it’s really nice to see examples like this that make a lot of sense. There’s only room for so many brands to follow suit on this kind of strategy — crossing fingers one shows up in my neighborhood soon!

Evan Snively

It seems like the existing business model is profitable and from my personal experience with their locations it appears Tide has done an excellent job with its selection in real estate and presentation. Many stores are in new developments and are kept bright, clean, and inviting – something that isn’t always the calling card of legacy self-serve laundromats and dry-cleaners.

This physical representation of the brand subliminally impacts consumers expectations and is translated to a feeling of trust when they see the product on the shelf.

Liz Adamson

Demand for laundry service is certainly high among busy professionals and college students among others. What’s interesting is to see a consumer goods company move into a brick-and-mortar service-based business. Some companies have failed expanding outside their core competency, however with the concept having been tested over the past 10 years, P&G has likely worked out the kinks and created a working business model.

Joy Chen

This is a great move for the Tide brand to capture new, younger users by offering more convenience. This will build the Tide brand with the younger consumers who are not likely that loyal or even aware of Tide.

Tony Orlando

This should do very well, especially in the colleges — where most of the laundromats I used to visit looked like the basement of a frat house, with very strange people in them. The suburban shopping centers will do very well and, if they keep the places very clean and address security concerns, then they will have a home run. This is a category killer for sure, as P & G have tons of capital, vs. broken down machines at the locally-owned places littered across the landscape. Is Purina far behind in developing a pet store/grooming business, with free TV and a snack/coffee bar for pet owners to use while they wait? Who knows?

Paco Underhill

The latest washing machines wash clothes in ionized bubbles – very little water and no soap. Across much of Asia – the washer and dryer are the same machine. In Brazil some hotel rooms come with small washing machines – too small for sheets and towels, but perfect for one outfit. The laundry is ripe for change — but is the typical middle class family earning $59,000 going to outsource their cleaning? Yes in some cities and wealthy suburbs. Near-term P&G needs to offer custom blends. Send them a water sample, the kind of machine you are using, and a profile of your washing habits. P&G signs you up and ships or has you pick up your blend. Long-term the technology of the washing machine is going to change.

David Naumann
David Naumann
Vice President, Retail Marketing, enVista
1 year 3 hours ago

This is a smart move by Tide. The dry-cleaning and laundry industry is one of the few remaining industries that is dominated by independent businesses with no major chains. This is a prime category for major brands to penetrate and the growing appreciation for convenience may increase the demand for clothes cleaning services.

The hours of independent cleaners are often limited and some of them don’t instill a lot of confidence and trust. A major brand like Tide will be embraced and trusted by consumers. I hope one opens near our town!

James Tenser

Wish this service was available when I was a college dorm resident, back in the previous millennium. Now that it’s app-enabled, I can imagine students signing up in droves.

P&G has been experimenting patiently with this franchised retail concept for years. It hits the mark as a brand extension, a lifestyle service, and a digitally-enabled business. It ensures a continuous market for its laundry cleaning products.

With 2,000 locations, P&G is already looking at a multi-billion dollar business. The addition of pickup lockers and satellite storefronts will create a network effect that competing companies will be hard-pressed to match.

Craig Sundstrom

“The market is fragmented in nature as large number of players are operating in this industry” is what an article that the search “number of dry cleaners in the U.S.” found tells us. If I understand it correctly, it also gave ~2,000 as the number of outlets, so this would be a large — but by no means majority — share of the market.

The concern I have here is that it seems to tie the cleaning service to (use of) Tide, but what if the prospective customer doesn’t want Tide? It seems like there are better ways to enter the cleaning market and promote ones brands, while (still) appealing to people who may not want to use them.

Karen S. Herman

Tide tested the value that consumers place on convenience and comfort with their initial rollout of Tide Cleaners and clearly it hit a sweet spot. I’ve watched Tide Cleaners locations grow in Overland Park, KS and South Florida and think this next expansion will be successful. I definitely see more benefits than risks, as Tide is offering a wide range of solutions to provide convenience to consumers where they live. Who wouldn’t want to gain back their time and still have clean clothes?

John Karolefski

Great idea! It’s a logical extension of the Tide brand for a new generation of younger consumers who will use this service more than other demographic groups. The Tide brand keeps getting stronger.

Fredrik Carlegren

Let’s face it, do you know the difference between Tide and any other detergent brand? I don’t. And, no amount of advertising will change my mind (I’m guessing since I’ve heard it all for decades but still don’t know). Therefore, I love this. It puts Tide front and center not in the laundry detergent business … but rather in the “we’ll make sure your clothes are clean” business. Thanks, I’ll be back at 5pm tomorrow to pick it up.

"This sounds like a smart move on the part of Tide. They already have name recognition and their name is one that instills trust."
"This will build the Tide brand with the younger consumers who are not likely that loyal or even aware of Tide."
"This should do very well, especially in the colleges, where most of the laundromats I used to visit looked like the basement of a frat house, with very strange people in them."

Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is Procter & Gamble to achieve its goal of doubling the number of Tide Cleaners locations by the end of next year?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...