As we embark upon another new year, we have to look back upon the past year and ask ourselves - what did we learn in the past year and what can we do better in the coming season?
If you had your frozen dessert shop set up correctly and were marketing your store properly, you most likely found out that you were somewhat pandemic proof. On the other hand, if your store wasn't doing take-out, delivery, or drive-through and you weren't following some of our information on these blogs regarding marketing and advertising strategies, then you probably experienced some struggles.
Many of our customers, in fact most of them, had their best year ever in their history. However, there were many factors that played into the level of success. These factors include geography, whether you were walk in/walk up, how you were set up, and how quickly you adapted to the ever changing landscape of 2020. Hopefully, you found out that you were not only pandemic-proof but recession-proof as well. Towns with 3-4 frozen dessert shops within miles of each other had lines around the corner each night. Customers were staying in their communities and without anything else to do or anywhere to go, the trip to the local dessert shop became habitual.
A huge factor in the success of the successful shops was due to their agility to adapt quickly to change and respond to it. Whether they had to move a walk-up window, implement delivery, or change store configurations to adapt to the changing conditions, they did it.
Marketing has become more important than ever during the Covid crisis. Pricing is no longer as important as it used to be. Trust is the new currency in the neighborhood. Your customers are looking for connection and a sense of community. You can connect with and build a community with the social platforms out there today.
Mobile ordering has increased greatly during the pandemic. Whether carryout, delivery, or used through GrubHub or UberEats, those that have implemented mobile ordering have had exponential growth in their sales. We did a blog post and 3 Minute Tip on how to do this for your business before the pandemic even took hold. Our customers, who heeded our advice and got on point with it before it was even relevant were among the stores that had the best year ever. The average store went from less than 10% online sales before the pandemic to over 25% during it.
So, we recapped what the most successful frozen dessert shops did in the past year. But what if you want to have an even better year next year? Marketing!
Here are some additional tips to thrive in the new year.
Capitalize on the family experience.
During the pandemic, families got closer. People got forced together, at home, from the closure of schools, sports, work, and other activities. Thus there are fewer outlets for family recreation, leisure, and fun. Fortunately for you, as a business owner, you can leverage this. You can position your operation as the family environment and make going to your shop the habitual outing for all. We need to cater to the whole family by providing take-home novelty items, family packs, and other menu items that they can only get at your store.
Maintain sanitary guidelines and procedures.
No matter where we are in the pandemic, one thing all customers will appreciate is the fact that your shop provides a clean, safe, guideline adhered-to environment for the family. Whatever practices you put in during the pandemic to keep your store sanitized and your customers safe and clean, make sure you keep them going. If we learned anything is that we should be remain proactive in all we do rather than react to the latest news.
Stay involved in the community
If you noticed, every community has increased their social media access and access to local news and notes. This shared information is wonderful and in today’s world where so many of us are standoffish to personal interaction, using these new platforms to market your business is a great opportunity. See where the community blogs live. Infuse your store in the neighborhood apps. Reconnect with local organizations that act as the connectors for your town….PTA, Youth groups, Religious Org, etc. You offer a safe, happy treat at an affordable price with options that satisfy all demographics. Let people know and watch your sales boom!