How to boost sales is one of the key questions that any business always needs to address, and that obviously includes any ice cream or gelato shop. Marketing is a crucial asset, and that’s why we have already covered several related topics. For example, we have explained how to increase profits by getting new customers.
But if you have already worked on setting up a successful marketing strategy to lure new customers into your gelato shop, what comes next?
Will you keep pushing your customer acquisition strategies forever? Or once you get to a satisfactory result, you’ll let the wind alone propel your boat?
The right answer is none of these. Or better, it’s both of them, at one condition.
And the condition is: your acquired customers MUST come back to your shop again and again, inviting friends and relatives by word of mouth.
As we often repeat, effective marketing strategies adhere to the renowned Pareto Principle, (also known as the 80/20 rule).
The principle suggests that 20% of the causes, represented in this case by your existing customers, generates 80% of the effects, which in marketing obviously translates to revenues.
In other words, rather than solely focusing on acquiring new customers, it is crucial to prioritize retaining and satisfying your current customer base. This is probably the most effective marketing strategy to boost sales for your gelato shop!
Because by doing that, your customers themselves will become the wind you need to propel your boat.
The importance of retaining the existing customers of your ice cream shop
There are two primary reasons why working on your customers’ loyalty is deeply beneficial.
Firstly, a satisfied customer who returns to your gelato shop will probably be prone to share their positive experience with someone else. This means they will probably come back with other people who haven’t tried your shop yet. Also, it may lead them to recommend your business to their friends and family, thereby expanding your customer base organically.
By nurturing strong relationships with your existing customers, you not only increase the likelihood of repeated visits but also tap into their potential as brand ambassadors.
Secondly, the costs associated with acquiring new customers can be substantial. Marketing efforts to attract new customers usually require significant investments in ads, promotions, and other outreach activities.
To earn a new customer, you need first to overcome their natural mistrust against new unknown places or products.
Conversely, maintaining and enhancing the loyalty of your current customers can be achieved at a relatively low cost and effort. By focusing on delivering exceptional experiences and personalized service, you can strengthen customer loyalty without incurring substantial expenses.
This approach significantly enhances the profitability of each sale, as repeat customers tend to spend more and are more likely to engage in word-of-mouth marketing. That clearly further amplifies your business’s growth.
Raise the Customer Lifetime Value, boost sales for your gelato shop
The key metric to measure the positive impact of loyalty in your business is the CLV (customer lifetime value). If a customer spends an average of 10 dollars every time they visit your shop and he comes to your shop only twice, his CLV will be 20$. If he comes 20 times during his life, his CLV will be 200$, with no added acquisition costs.
It’s undoubtedly essential never to underestimate (to never underestimate) the value of cultivating a strong relationship with your current customers. Their loyalty and satisfaction serve as invaluable assets that fuel the long-term success of your gelato shop.
Let’s now see a few marketing strategy examples to increase your customers’ loyalty and CLV.
A few marketing strategies to build your customer base’ loyalty
1) Use your flavors to give your customers a reason to come back
First of all, although it may sound obvious, always remember that people come to your shop to taste a delicious frozen treat.
The essential condition for them to be motivated to come back again, is the desire to repeat the tasteful experience you offered them. That means – unless you’re the only ice cream / gelato shop in town – that your product will have to be recognizable and unique.
Otherwise, why should anybody prefer your shop to any other one?
Your flavors are your first marketing tool and that’s why you should put a lot of effort into choosing the ones to offer every time. In particular, if your flavors’ variety doesn’t change often, your existing customers will most likely get bored by them eventually.
Instead, offer a different range of flavors often and always try to innovate and introduce new ones to keep your loyal customers always eager and curious to come back and try your latest flavors. Of course, many customers of yours will naturally become loyal to a few flavors and keep picking them over any other.
That’s why you need to find the perfect balance between your most beloved evergreen flavors and new exciting novelties. Every person is different, therefore you must know your audience to grant them the perfect set of flavors for them.
2) Loyalty cards
Another smart marketing tool you can use to raise your audience’ loyalty is the loyalty card.
While it’s most commonly associated with other kinds of businesses, a loyalty card could be an optimal solution for a gelato shop as well. It’s in fact a simple, inexpensive incentive to persuade your customer to prefer your shop to a competitor’s.
In a realistic market context, there will likely be other good ice cream shops around you. People are also naturally prone to change shops frequently to avoid boredom and to satisfy their curiosity.
In these cases, aside from having a great product and a frequent flavor rotation, you may want to add another incentive to persuade your neighborhood’s people to resist the temptation of changing shop everytime.
And that’s when a well mulled over loyalty card comes in handy.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to set a loyalty card, and you must pick one that fits your own marketing strategy. In general, our suggestion is to be careful not to undervalue your product with unreasonable discounts.
A common, effective formula is for instance the following.
Every time your customer comes and buys you an ice cream, he earns a stamp on your loyalty card. Once he reaches a certain number of stamps (let’s suppose 10), he unblocks the reward. This can be a free ice cream or another product.
Of course, you can set your own formula. Test several options to better match your business needs and your customer’s preferences!
3) Use your channels to keep the relationship alive
If you want a long lasting relationship with your loyal customers, you need to nurture it.
A very common mistake that many food businesses always make, it’s to limit their connection with their customers only inside the shop. Today, we have so many connection tools that this approach is mostly unjustified. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram, Whatsapp, email…
The point is not torturing your customers with a bunch of undesired spam. The real point is instead that you have endless communication possibilities. Choose from them to keep in touch with your public.
A few examples?
– Send them an email to offer them a special, customized promo;
– Publish your menu on Facebook and Instagram;
– Post stories where you notice your customers of any new flavor coming soon;
– Invite them via SMS to join any special event you are scheduling.
– Post videos on how you make your gelato behind the scenes.
And many more…
The key point is: be present in your customers’ daily life. Set up customized promotions that make them feel somehow ‘special’. Keep them posted about your latest innovations and flavor updates.
The most essential loyalty strategy above all
Aside from the three marketing tips to develop your audience’s loyalty we have already explained, there’s another one to boost sales for your gelato shop.
An often forgotten and undervalued one, which actually is the most essential.
In fact, you can surely rely on flavor rotations, loyalty cards, incentives like promos or customized communications… but these marketing tips work at ONLY ONE condition.
And this is: the perceived quality of your ice cream itself and your gelato shop’s overall experience, must be excellent.
If your frozen dessert fails to bring delight to your customers, nobody will burn from the desire to return. If their experience isn’t flawless, or even worse, isn’t remarkable from any point of view, you’re condemning your shop to linger on being unnoticed and indistinguishable from any other shop around.
They won’t suggest you to anyone else. They won’t bring any friends to “taste some new must-visit gelato shop”.
You want instead to impress your customers and offer them an experience they won’t forget. Because that’s what will make them remember about your existence, climbing up their ranking of preference.
That’s why at MODALiTA we strive to work with ambitious ice cream and gelato shop owners who want to be different, boost their sales and who are really focused on achieving the success they deserve.
In order to do so, the best marketing strategy you have to boost sales by building up your customers’ loyalty is…
…focusing on quality!
And to win this battle over quality, you’ll need the best weapons available: equipment that will boost your gelato quality, reduce your costs and at the same time increase profits.
You can power-up your gelato business with the best in class gelato machines you can find here. Also, you can give your products the scene that competes them by picking an upscale visual display case that really conveys an image of quality and delight.
Last but not least, if you’re really looking to become the very gelato authority in your area, give an almost unfair boost to your business by entrusting the design of your shop to professionals who already have more than 10 years of experience in creating delightful shops and helping them to thrive.
You just need to fill in this contact form and reach out to us!