It’s almost impossible to walk into an ice cream shop and not see at least one couple on a date. ‘Getting ice cream’, has become a first-date staple, especially for those living in a cash-strapped college town, in search of something cheap, relaxed and refreshing. Who doesn’t love ice cream? As a shop owner, it’s important to not only recognize and understand this key demographic, but also to market directly to them.
If your shop is a date hot-spot, sales will shoot through the roof! We at Frozen Dessert Supplies are here to give a few ideas as to exactly how you might be able to reach those customers seeking the next ‘great date spot’!
1. Host Game Nights
Ice cream and an activity? What could be better?! One of the best ways to market directly to those on a date, is by hosting some sort of activity, such as a game or trivia night. This gives couples the opportunity to eat some good food, play a fun game, and get to know each other! Game nights are also a great way to spread the word about your business and your ice cream! The best part is: it doesn’t have to cost you a thing! Hosting a game of Bingo, or even projecting a slideshow for trivia night is a cheap way to get people in the door and focused on your delicious ice cream. Even if your town has a lot to offer in the way of activities, word travels fast when there’s a new place to eat and play games. Whether you’re hosting a game night, movie night, or a few rounds of ice-cream-centric trivia, your activities will not only bring couples together, give your business the most important marketing tool of all: word of mouth!
2. Collaborate with Other Businesses
One of our values here at Frozen Dessert Supplies is to "create a culture that feels like family”. We believe creating this culture extends beyond the bounds of our own walls, and we do our best to be friendly with every business we interact with!
Building a relationship with your neighboring businesses can accomplish two distinct things. One, you are creating a culture of respect between your parties. That is certainly not something only your employees will recognize, but your customers will also be able to witness firsthand how respectful you are to other businesses. Secondly, it allows more opportunities with who you market to. Are you set up next to a movie theater? Collaborate! Make a partnership where if a couple sees a movie, they might get a dollar off their ice cream cone. Are you next to another dessert store? Maybe if a customer buys 3 ice cream cones, they get a free cookie at the other store, etc.
While the specifics will be up to you, there are so many options depending on the kind of relationship you are willing to build with neighboring businesses. Couples will love walking down the streets, visiting all these different shops and stores, and these awesome collaborative deals will definitely invite them in.
3. Get Active on Social Media
Having a strong presence on social media is crucial to properly marketing your business. Even if your ice cream shop is reminiscent of more classical era’s, your marketing approach doesn’t need to be stuck in the 50’s. In such a fast moving industry, it’s become crucial to make your brand stand out and provide a platform with which to communicate with your consumers. Social media is an excellent way to reach out to your customers, especially younger ones, who may be searching for a place to take others on a date or rally a group of friends for a fun night out. Being active on social media can help make others aware that not only is your shop an option, it’s a great option.
Social media has not only become a place to stay in contact with friends and family, it has become an excellent medium for connecting and communicating with your community, both local and worldwide. Having a social media presence shows your consumers that you are willing to talk with them even outside of business hours, and shows you are making an effort to cater to what they may be passionate about and interested in. Posting on social media can be a great way to show off your beautiful ice cream and store personality, and make others aware of deals and sales. The more you post about your awesome shop, the quicker people will realize how great you are!
4. Samples (People Love Free Stuff - Shocker!)
A great way to get couples–young and old–in the door is by offering samples. Choosing a flavor at an ice cream shop is a great way to start a conversation on a first date. It’s also a great way to market your own flavors! While you don’t have to break the bank by offering free spoonfuls of ice cream or gelato, providing a wide variety of options and allowing customers to try a few, will definitely get them back in the door again and again. Who knows, maybe discovering a new flavor is exactly what will get that new couple excited about your shop!
5. Offer Discounts Directed at Dating (Including student discounts)
“Buy one get one free”, is one of the top ways to get any customer into any store, no matter what you’re selling! Especially ice cream! While the word ‘discount’ might initially elicit a negative response from any shop owner, it may not be as bad as it seems. Targeting discounts towards couples may double the amount of customers you would normally see on a given night, and when they are ‘wow’ed by your ice cream, they are sure to be back time and time again!
There’s nothing better than seeing a line two blocks long circling an ice cream shop on date night. Offering unique discounts with couples in mind is a great way to see that kind of massive return. In college towns especially–where the amount of couples on dates is much higher than average–discounts and deals are normally the first thing sought after in choosing an establishment to patronize. Discounts will get them in the door, and your amazing ice cream will keep them there! Who’s ready for a second date now??