At the beginning of the month, in our previous blog, we reviewed what the most successful frozen dessert and ice cream shops did to to not only survive the pandemic, but thrive during it. 2020 was an educational year, and hopefully one of the things you learned is just how important marketing is. So, as we move into a post-covid environment, here our a few more tips on how we can market ourselves better in the coming year.
In our last tip, we mentioned the first of our big three topics to focus on when marketing in a post-covid world. Capitalizing on the family experience. The second important aspect we need to focus on in the coming year is:
Focus on Operations
When we talk about marketing a lot of people interpret this as razzle-dazzle TV or radio advertising. However, that couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to your frozen dessert business. We've always taught, and we believe it whole-heartily, that marketing comes from the inside out. If you focus your efforts internally on your operations, the results can have a direct and positive impact on your success.
One area to focus on in your internal operations is cash flow. If you had a great year last year, like many of our customers did, then reinvest some of that money back into your business. Maybe that means upgrading to a higher capacity, more efficient frozen dessert machine, or changing the aesthetics of your store. Take advantage of the opportunity to make much-needed improvements in your store and operations. These improvements don't need to be major capital expenses either, they could be as simple as a new coat of paint, a new sign or, new employee uniforms. Maybe you're at the point where you should invest in new technologies such as a new point of sale system or inventory management software. The goal is to refine and enhance your store operations so you can provide a customer experience that your customers and community will appreciate. The pandemic has made people a bit more sensitive to what they're hearing, what they're eating, and how they're being treated as a customer. If you can provide a better in-store experience for your customers when they walk through your door...it will help create customers and loyalty to your store. This also means you need to have your branding on point. Branding is who you are as a company, make sure your customers know it too. Attached to everything you present...including take-out items, uniforms, and menus.
When someone walks through your door, it's great you got their business but you want to keep their business. Don't just think of a customer as a one time sale but as a long term engagement where you hope to see them and their family members time and time again throughout the year.
Make It Easy
The last, very important tip for your business is that you need to make it easy for your customers to get your products and pay for your products. This is a topic
we touched on two years ago, pre-pandemic. The businesses that heeded our advice absolutely thrived during the recession, proving themselves recession and pandemic proof. Simply put, the third-party carry-out and delivery services that are available - take advantage of them. If you didn't see the value in services like DoorDash, GrubHub, or UberEats during 2020, you probably never will. Though you might object to the service fees they charge, think of it as the price of doing business. Or, if you feel they’re taking too much, then charge a service fee or charge more for your products. Price is no longer at the forefront of the customers’ minds. In fact, most consumers are willing to pay more for the convenience of home delivery, even if the quality isn’t as good or as fresh as the in-store product. The profit and loss numbers and statistics of success and failure between the stores that took advantage of these services, and of those that did not, are astronomical. Realize too that cash purchases are going down. Most consumers don't even carry cash anymore so you have to be prepared to take plastic and have your mobile ordering apps set up. A customer is not just a one time sale but a long term opportunity to serve them time and time again throughout the year.