With summer in full swing, froyo shops across the country are experiencing a wave of fruit-craving, soft-serve seeking, sweet-toothed customers. Along with the growth in the number of froyo-happy palates in recent years also comes a blitz of new frozen yogurt shops looking to reap some of those glorious summer revenues.
So how do you, as a frozen yogurt shop owner, beat the summer heat and stay ahead of the rash of popup, copycat shops?
Below are seven tips and considerations to help you do just that:
Reward Your Winter Customers. Keep in mind that summer is just a season (albeit the busiest of them all). Summer is not only the time to bring in new customers, but it's also the time to reward the customers who kept you going during the winter. One of the reasons you survived the frostier months is the loyal customer base that frequented your shop during the off- season. Now is the time to remind those folks how much you appreciate them by giving them a free scoop or cup.
Begin Winning Over Your Summer Customers. It’s hard to think about during the craziest time of the year, but we need to remember that summer will be over as quickly as it came. Right now, in the middle of the season, is the time to start winning your customers over to ensure that they will return when it isn’t bikini weather. Your relationships you create with new customers can be extended into fall or or winter provided you offer several rewards or offers to grow their sense of loyalty. Enable these folks to start earning punches or points early in the season, giving them something to look forward to when the season ends. This can be easily accomplished with a loyalty and rewards program such as Clover Rewards.
Give a Little, Get a Lot. Most froyo patrons grab a tasty treat as an impulse, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Offering a small incentive (discount, BOGO, etc.) to customers who haven’t stopped by in a while gives them a reason to stop in for a cup. This gives you much more leverage than hoping that their cravings overcome their restraint. To do this, use your POS system, classic punch card, email CRM, or one of the great new mobile loyalty program solutions available to track your customer’s behavior so you’re able to hit them with the right offer at the right time.
Change with the Seasons. You know what you do best and what your customers love. Keep doing and offering those things; that’s why you’re successful! But also make sure that you offer a variety of flavors, complimentary products, offers, and rewards that cater to current seasonal tastes. If you’ve been serving rich chocolates, sweet peppermints, and dark mochas during the colder months, switch it up as winter starts to turn to spring. The summer froyo customer tends to enjoy a fresher, fruitier taste: berries, melons, mints, etc. These tastes tend to go hand in hand with what fruit is hitting the grocery stores, so you can take mental notes about what’s popular (or not) in your area when you go grocery shopping. The same goes for the fall season with flavors like spice, pumpkin and cider. Make sure you’re keeping up with the seasons so you can keep your customers coming back to see what’s next, and structure your specials accordingly.
Be a Scientist. Be a little weird--experiment with flavors and topping offerings that are out of the ordinary. As a customer, I can get chocolate, vanilla and swirl pretty much anywhere. What I can’t get is honey-suckle-peach-mango-raspberry-mint jubilee. That said, let’s not get too crazy; it’s safe to say that we won’t be visiting the local shop that offers “ear-wax-and-cream” anytime soon. But don’t be afraid to be creative with your offerings--and your offers--to keep your customers engaged.
Make it Personal. You know this already, but it’s worth repeating: froyo is one of the most personal kinds of business. There is an experience away from the counter (tasting, scooping, filling, child-like-wondering), but the customer really completes their pre-consumption experience at the register. Make sure your employees understand the importance of this moment and are prepared to put on their happy faces (the real one), and to use the customer's name (accomplished by your loyalty program or the classic look-at-the-credit-card trick). Customers heading into a fro-yo shop are in the middle of the emotional peak of their day. They’re about to shove $5 of delicious cream into their faces, so make sure they remember every second of it. From stepping in the shop to leaving with brain freeze, it’s on you and your employees to make sure the customer leaves with a smile on their face.
Celebrate National Food Days. National Froyo Day (February 6th) has come and gone, but that doesn’t keep you from celebrating other arbitrary, delicious holidays. National Ice Cream Day (July 20th) and National Dessert Day (October 14th) are just two of the ways you can take advantage of national advertising- induced holidays to pull in some customers. With tons of shops participating in these holidays, you can use the advertising dollars of national chains to make your customers crave some the sweet cream from your shop. After all, we both know that your yogurt is tastier than GLOBO-MEGA-FROYO-CHAIN's. Use that against them while piggy-backing on their ad campaigns by offering your own specials and rewards on these days.