Shortly after 10 am, in the womenswear and children’s clothing section at a department store chain in the Ruhr region: A pensioner is heading towards the women’s toilets, inserts 70 cents into the payment machine, goes through the turnstile – and ignores the voucher that has just been printed out. “I always forget it,” says this regular customer after Julia Heggemann tells her what she has forgotten. Heggemann is a business development project manager in the Complete Washroom Concepts department at CWS-boco. In this role, she was in charge of the opening of “loovio by CWS” at this retail location in the Ruhr region. “We opened on 22 April after six weeks of building alterations,” she explained. A specialist main contractor was appointed to this end, “as it is used to working in retail.” The aim was to renovate four toilets on four floors that are used by up to 1,000 people every day without significantly restricting customer access or sales.
The change issue
While searching for a partner, the client eventually chose the loovio concept as a fully outsourced solution for its toilet facilities. This is because there is often a lack of resources in retail to take care of the washrooms themselves or plan the recruitment of cleaning assistants. This is why CWS-boco offers installation, operational and cleaning services from a single source. This involves pay toilets: The user pays a fee upon entrance and receives a voucher that they can use when making a purchase or at the coffee bar. “This is a principle that people are familiar with at service stations,“ said a middle-aged customer. At “loovio by CWS” retail locations, even the full amount is given back as credit – not just a partial amount, as with service stations on the motorway. “It’s a pain if you really need to go and have to look for coins first.” This is why the loovio machine also gives change. “70 cents is an odd amount, of course. Most people insert 1-euro or 2-euro coins,” explained the project manager. “We hadn’t anticipated this at first – until we ran out of change. Now, we fill up the machines every week.” Customers can also pay by credit card for free using near-field communication (NFC). “Although half of all visitors prefer this payment method in our loovio washrooms in Denmark, it is hardly relevant in Germany.” The next customer has paid the exact amount. And yet the turnstile won’t move. “You’ve inserted two 20-cent coins. That’s not enough,” as Heggemann explains what the old lady has done wrong. She replies: “Oh, I mixed up the 20-cent and 50-cent coins because I’m not wearing my glasses.”
Good for your image
Although this makes things a bit more difficult for some, customers unanimously found that the new solution was “desperately needed” on that Wednesday morning. A study conducted on behalf of CWS-boco showed just how important attractive toilet facilities are for people’s shopping experience: “88 per cent of respondents from five European countries believe that the cleanliness of washrooms is representative of the hygiene of the building as a whole.” This is why loovio offers high hygiene standards and high-quality products combined with stylish design and professional lighting to have a positive impact on the company’s image. Nothing should be overlooked in the area of service as well: During opening hours, cleaning staff are always available and they can even be called over if required. “We often have to explain to our customers how the system works, but most of them really like it,” said a saleswoman. If people were to complain, it would be because they cannot find the toilets immediately. The big loovio sign on the wall pointing to the entrance is currently not enough because the brand is so new in Germany that users cannot always find their way to the toilets immediately.
The company runs other washrooms under the loovio brand at two service stations in Denmark and Roma San Pietro regional station in the vicinity of Vatican City. CWS-boco will also open 17 sites in all new Hudson’s Bay department stores in the Netherlands by mid-2018. These sites will be operated as part of a 50:50 joint venture under the Purepoint brand. “In the long run, we would like to establish ourselves in the public toilet business throughout Europe and raise awareness of the loovio & CWS brands with a stronger presence in areas with high footfall. We also want to present our CWS products in these live showrooms and directly test innovations ourselves,” said Johannes Winterhager, Managing Director of CWS Complete Washroom Concepts GmbH, a company that was established specifically for this purpose. And the expansion continues: A second “loovio by CWS” washroom will open in the immediate vicinity of Ku-Damm in Berlin, Germany.