Can mobile apps put an end to disgusting store restrooms?
Mobile app developers have focused on many aspects of the in-store experience and so it may seem reasonable that some are now addressing an area that can have a significant influence on customer satisfaction.
Last September, Good2Go, a San Francisco start-up, launched what it claims to be first app that locates and grants access to “modern, safe, hi-tech restrooms at retail partners.” Consumers find a location, join a virtual queue, see their estimated wait time, and unlock the restroom door through Bluetooth or QR code. Users must be inside the store location to reserve a restroom.
The service, launched in San Francisco and expected to land in New York City in 2018, is currently free, but daily passes for $2.99 and monthly passes for $19.99 are planned. It’s expected to particularly appeal to travelers, parents and the on-demand work force.
For its retail partners that so far include Whole Foods and a number of coffee shops, Good2Go converts their restrooms to smart rooms featuring “touchless” lights, sinks, hand dryers and toilets, all operated by waving hands across sensors. App users can alert the establishment if the restroom is dirty or has other issues.
John Elstrott, former chairman of Whole Foods and an investor in Good2Go, said in a statement, “Their business model is highly attractive, scalable and offers retailers a digital platform to acquire new customers, drive new revenue and to optimize store-front operations.”
Other apps supporting the restroom experience include Charmin’s SitOrSquat and the just-released “Got to Go” app from Cintas Corp., the provider of work uniforms as well as cleaning and safety solutions. Both enable users to find a local public bathroom, offer a review and see whether it’s likely clean.
With the “Got to Go” app, users can rate the condition of the facility (dirty or clean), supply level (low or well-stocked), smell (good or bad) and whether it’s open to the public or available to customers only.
According to a past Cintas survey, when asked what specific types of businesses participants would avoid if they encountered dirty restrooms, restaurants came in first at 79 percent, followed by hotels (79 percent), health care facilities (77 percent), supermarkets (50 percent), retail stores (45 percent) and gas stations (45 percent).
- Launching Today In San Francisco: The Good2Go App Grants Access to State of the Art Restrooms Located at Retailers in Major Cities – Good2Go
- When Mother Nature Calls, Cintas Comes to the Rescue – Cintas
- You’ll never use a filthy public bathroom again if this start-up has its way – CNBC
- Gotta go? This app helps users find clean public bathrooms – USA Today
- Charmin Introduces New and Improved SitOrSquat Restroom Finder App – Procter & Gamble/Business Wire
- Customers Spend More At Establishments with Clean Restrooms – Convenience Store Decisions
- Healthy Handwashing Survey – Bradley Corp.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Can apps and smartphones solve problems that have long plagued the restroom experience at retailers and restaurants? Where do you see the biggest benefit for retailers as well as consumers?