The ice cream business can be a very successful and profit producing industry to be in during the warm, winter months. In fact, June is the month that the most ice cream is produced, as this is also the highest month of consumption. As we come into ice cream season, how can you compete with other ice cream businesses? How can you ensure that customers will come to your ice cream business when they crave that familiar cold dessert?
Provide great customer service
Customer service is important, regardless of the type of business that you work in. Customers want to visit places that they feel appreciated. They want to frequent stores and restaurants that are nice, efficient, and handle problems quickly. Focus on providing the best customer service you can and also in training your employee?s necessary customer service skills. You will find that your customers enjoy the service and that they are more likely to return.
Offer a great product
Customers also want to spend their hard earned money on a product they desire. They want to feel that they are getting a good product and that the product is worth their money. Ensure that your ice cream provider is of high quality and that you follow all food and beverage regulations. Try to offer outside of the box items, as well as traditional flavors for people who prefer them. There are about 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts produced in the United States every year. Be sure that you have a wide variety of dessert options available in a high quality brand.
Focus on marketing
You might think that simply opening up your doors and selling ice cream dessert products is enough. Although you will get walk in business, it may not be enough to pay the bills. You also might not attract enough local customers to stay open. Focus on extending your marketing efforts to attract local residents. Let locals know why they should visit you, for your product, and not the other ice cream shop down the road. Incentivize their visit with coupons, discounts, or other free items. This allows them to try your product and they are more likely to return.
In addition to marketing, it is also necessary to brand your business. Customers are more likely to frequent a business they recognize. This is especially beneficial if you have multiple locations of the same business. Let local residents know that you are serving the same product that they already trust and enjoy. You can brand your business with a variety of marketing products, including paper ice cream cups, logo dessert cups, even branded colored spoons. Custom ice cream cups also allow you to extend your branding efforts, by marketing your brand to wherever the customer takes their ice cream.
Even the best businesses will be forced to close down should they not remain consistent. Have you ever run to a store to grab a quick item to find that it was closed in the middle of the day? Even if you enjoy the brand and the customer service, you are likely to visit a different store next time. If you have specific store hours posted, stick to those store hours. If you always carry a specific product in paper ice cream cups, continue to serve that item in paper ice cream cups. Customers tend to prefer consistency, even when it comes to minimal things like paper ice cream cups and frozen yogurt spoons.
In any given two week period, according to NPD Group, 40% of Americans will eat ice cream. A small business that focuses on their customer service skills, product quality, consistency in business practices, marketing efforts, and branding practices can succeed in the ice cream industry. However, it is important to remember that even running a small ice cream business requires business knowledge. The ice cream industry can be a competitive one during the warmer, winter months. Ensure that you are prepared to stand out.