This month I am exploring the dos and don’ts of offering consumers an ice cream sample or taste of gelato flavours before they buy. There are more factors to take into account with this than you may at first realise.
So why might you want to offer your customer to taste an ice cream sample? The cynics amongst us might say – these people have come into your shop to buy ice cream – they will buy it anyway so why give some away – surely that is just eating into your profits? Maybe there is an element of truth in that, however consider this scenario…
A customer walks into your gelateria or parlour, (no this is not a joke) selects a flavour they think they will like, pays for it and walks out. What if they then discover outside that it is not the taste or texture or flavour they were expecting and in fact they don’t like it?
Do you think they will come back to your parlour in a hurry or will they perhaps try one down the road? Also what if someone else sees their reaction or if they are seen by potential customers throwing it in the bin after a few mouthfuls – that is not good marketing for your business is it? All this before they have even told their friends about their experience. Really this is all down to misplaced expectations, so lets re-visit the same scenario with the addition of a taste offering…
A customer walks into your gelateria or parlour, selects a flavour they think they will like, (OK that is all the same so far but wait..) before scooping that flavour into a cone, the serving staff ask the customer if they would like to taste it first. The customer agrees to a taste and finds that it is not what they expected and then enters into a discussion with the staff about what else they might like, tasting one or two other flavours before settling on a final purchase. The customer then pays and walks out.
The ice cream doesn’t end up in the bin. The customer is pleased with the whole ice cream purchase experience, not just because they have an ice cream they are enjoying but because they feel valued as a person. They have had a positive interaction that they will not only remember but will probably tell their friends and family about too.
What’s more the staff have also gained an interesting insight into the perceptions about some of the flavours. This is actually providing you with a customer research opportunity which you can take into consideration when creating future gelato combinations and displays. However, beware that it is probably best to build up information from a range of customer samplings rather than just react to one customer in case they are unique in their opinion.
So having established that offering a taste before you buy option is a good idea lets look at the best practice of how to do this. I have created a simple list of do’s and don’ts:
To avoid dripping ice cream off the spoon when you pass it to the customer, dip the teaspoon into the ice cream first then take it out again – this will make the spoon cold and then when you scoop the ice cream sample onto the teaspoon the ice cream will stick to it.
Obviously spending a long time with each customer when you have a queue out of the door is impractical so here are some ways you can help the customer with their flavour choice when sampling is not practical:
All these factors are helping build on the ice cream experience that we discussed last month – maybe you have some other ideas to add to this too – I look forward to hearing them when I next catch up with you.
See you next time for the latest scoop.
where to buy Ivermectin Antonelli’s National Technical Manager Jonny Ireland is a regular contributor to the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…
See how this article looked in the November/December ’19 edition of the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…