There’s no denying that Americans love their ice cream. It’s obviously a popular summertime activity, but Americans also love to eat ice cream all year round. Research from NPD indicates that 40% of Americans eat ice cream in a two-week period. What’s more, 90% of Americans regularly have a sweet treat and the average American eats more than 48 pints of ice cream a year.
If you’re passionate about ice cream and you’re wanting to own your own business, opening an ice cream shop can be a good outlet for that passion. If you love all things ice cream, gelato, floats and other sweet treats, you can create a creative, welcoming place that gives people their fill of all the sweet treats they love.
Having a passion and love of ice cream is good, but one of the real questions you need to ask before you open your business is: how do I make my business stand out.
If you’re opening your shop in a bigger city, chances are good there are a least a dozen other shops around you within a five-mile radius. That shouldn’t scare you off from opening a business, but it should give you pause to think about what you can do to make your place special.
If you want to make your business stand out, here are five tips to pull it off:
- Do things differently: If you want to stand out, you can do that by doing business differently. Look at business models of your competitors and figure out how you can improve them for your own business.
- Narrow your focus: No matter how good your product is or how long you’ve been open, you’re not going to please everyone. Out of 10 people, it’s likely you’re going to find eight who love your ice cream and two who don’t. To make your business stand out, you should narrow your business focus to cater to a niche market. Maybe that’s people looking for healthier ice cream. Maybe that’s people looking for more “upscale” ice cream. Maybe that’s people looking for the wildest ice cream confections the mind can create.
- Create a guarantee: You’ve likely seen plenty of pizza ads that proclaim “Get it in 30 minutes or it’s free!” Your business doesn’t have to make a guarantee quite like that, but making some kind of offer or guarantee reduces the (perceived) risk of a customer buying what you’re selling. When you eliminate any hesitation a customer might have about your product, you have the potential for more sales. What’s more, a guarantee makes your product seem likable and trustworthy.
- Be a little quirky: Whether it’s custom ice cream cups or different chocolate-dipped ice cream products or weird and wild confections, being a little bit quirky can be just the thing your business needs to stand out. People love things that are out of the ordinary in a fun way and if you can delight and surprise your customers with custom ice cream cups and other things that are different, customers will flock to your business.
- Use marketing to your advantage: If you’re not using social media as part of your business model these days, you’re going to fall behind fast. By using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you can increase your customer outreach efforts tenfold and ensure that people know about your business. Let’s say you post a photo on Monday to social media of the latest ice cream confection in custom ice cream cups you’ve created with a note that says “Available until Saturday.” By letting people see what the confection is and making it available for a limited time, you’ll almost guarantee customers will flock to your store to get one before the week runs out.
By doing things a little different, embracing and having fun with social media and creating a guarantee about your product, customers will becoming interested in your product and come to trust it over time. By standing out, either with custom ice cream cups or different flavors or confections or quirky uniforms, you can help drive customers to your business instead of having them go somewhere else.