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How to Boost Ice Cream Sales in Time for the Hot Season

Ice cream is the best in the summer and ice cream stores need to leverage this. Boost ice cream sales for the hot season with Newton Freezer Labels.

As temperatures rise, so does the demand for people’s favorite frozen treat. The hot season is right around the corner, after all. So whether you're an established ice cream shop owner or just starting out in the business, you need to maximize ice cream sales during the peak season (and beyond).

What drives ice cream sales?

Did you know that the ice cream industry has a $11.4 billion impact on the U.S. economy? This is according to the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) Dairy Delivers report. This industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and impacts millions of lives. But what drives this industry? What drives the ice cream sales?


According to the IDFA, families are the primary customer group for ice cream retailers. This is expected, as ice cream appeals most to children and teens. It’s also known as the most popular category of frozen desserts, with the average American eating an estimated 20 pounds of ice cream each year. Of course, there’s also the fact that ice cream is a summer treat known all over the world, and it’s a dessert that is easy and tasty for various kinds of occasions. The top 10 favorite ice cream flavors in America include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, cookie dough, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip, Rocky Road, and peanut butter. It’s also been reported that 73% of consumers consume ice cream at least once per week.


Non-dairy ice creams and plant-based ice cream have also seen an increase in demand in recent years, with their market size growing to USD 700 million in 2022. This is in line with the increasing presence of lactose intolerance and milk allergies among people worldwide, especially those in the regions of the United States and Canada. This will most likely drive more ice cream retailers to innovate and provide plant-based alternatives. Global Market Insights also noted in their report that the high nutritional value of plant-based dairy alternatives drives the growth of ice cream sales in European regions, instead of the prevalence of dairy-based allergies.


One thing's for sure: the ice cream industry will continue to grow, but only if ice cream manufacturers and retailers continue to innovate and bring a great experience to consumers. Whether it be producing other new flavors, offering plant-based alternatives, or creating effective marketing techniques, retailers will have to adjust and be pioneers.

What is the weakness of selling ice cream?

Selling ice cream, while potentially a lucrative industry, comes with several inherent weaknesses. This is the truth when it comes to this kind of business, ice cream manufacturers and stores rely heavily on the seasons and the factors impacting ice cream sales.


Here are some key challenges to selling ice cream:


  • Seasonality - Ice cream being known as a seasonal product is one of its biggest challenges. Ice cream sales are highly dependent on warm weather. This means that sales typically peak in the summer and decline during the colder months. This can potentially lead to fluctuating revenues. In regions with cold winters, it might be challenging to maintain consistent business throughout the year.
  • Highly competitive - The ice cream market is highly competitive, with numerous established brands and local businesses vying for market share. Because of this fact, it can also be challenging to differentiate an ice cream retailer’s product from other competitors. In terms of flavor, quality, and price, retailers would find a lot of challenges in rising above the competition.
  • Perishability - Ice cream has a relatively short shelf life and requires proper storage to maintain quality. This can lead to potential waste if not sold within a certain period. It needs to be stored at specific low temperatures, which might require investment in refrigeration equipment and consistent energy costs.
  • Health concerns - While it’s known to be tasty, ice cream is often viewed as an unhealthy treat due to its high sugar and fat content. Increasing health consciousness among consumers can lead to reduced demand and lower ice cream sales for retailers. Of course, there may also be increasing regulations and labeling requirements regarding sugar content, additives, and allergens.
  • Operational challenges - Maintaining the necessary equipment and ensuring the quality of ice cream can be costly. This includes refrigeration units, production equipment, and quality control measures. The logistics of the business can also become a weakness. This is because ensuring the product will remain frozen and edible during transportation and delivery can be complex and costly.
  • Consumer preferences - Consumer preferences can change rapidly, with ice cream trends such as non-dairy, low-sugar, or organic options becoming popular. Keeping up with these changes and preferences may require constant innovation and adaptation. Many consumers will also view ice cream as a discretionary purchase and may be sensitive to price increases.
  • Economic factors - During economic downturns, consumers may cut back on luxury and non-essential items, including ice cream.
  • Environmental impact - The production and packaging of ice cream can have significant environmental impacts, which might lead to sustainability issues for ice cream manufacturers. This includes energy consumption and waste generation. Businesses may face pressure to adopt more sustainable practices.
  • Licensing and compliance - Food safety regulations and franchise restrictions will also be a hurdle for many ice cream retailers. Ice cream businesses must comply with stringent food safety regulations, which can vary by region and add to operational complexity. For those operating under a franchise, there may be restrictions and fees that limit flexibility and profitability.

When does summer start?

Summer is the peak season for ice cream sales. Whether it be ice cream shops and gelato spots selling ice cream, or supermarkets and grocery stores offering popular ice cream brands, they will most likely find peak engagement and sales around the summer season.


In fact, according to IDFA, the busiest months for ice cream production are March through September. This coincides with the fact that summer in the Northern Hemisphere occurs during the months of June, July, and August. In the Southern Hemisphere, summer occurs in December, January, and February. Meanwhile, in Asian regions, the summer or dry season is also known to occur from March to May.


These busiest months for ice cream production and sales highlight the industry’s dependence on hot weather. It also shows an opportunity for ice cream retailers to step up and boost ice cream sales when they are most in demand.

What are customers looking for in ice cream?

When it comes to making an ice cream sale, customers are undoubtedly looking for a variety of factors when choosing ice cream. Ice cream retailers and brands always need to consider these 


Here are some of the key considerations for customers looking for ice cream:


  1. Flavor variety - Classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry remain popular, especially for children. Meanwhile, unique and exotic seasonal ice cream flavors, such as matcha, lavender, Thai tea, or pumpkin spice, attract adventurous eaters.
  2. Texture and quality - A smooth, creamy texture is highly desired when it comes to ice creams. High-quality ingredients, ethical practices, and a lack of artificial additives appeal to many consumers.
  3. Dietary preferences and restrictions - With the rise of veganism and lactose intolerance, non-dairy alternatives made from almond, soy, coconut, or oat milk are in demand. Health-conscious customers often seek out low-sugar and low-calorie options in ice cream. Clear labeling and options free from common allergens (like nuts or gluten) are important for those with dietary restrictions.
  4. Brand reputation - Of course, customers place trust in the brand's commitment to quality and consistency. Others may prefer supporting local or artisanal brands that emphasize handmade quality instead of giant brands.
  5. Nutritional value - Some customers look for ice cream that includes added nutritional benefits, such as high-protein content or added vitamins and minerals.
  6. Price - Competitive pricing is essential, although some customers are willing to pay a premium for high-quality ice cream, unique flavors, or organic ingredients. Customers also seek a balance between price and the quantity or quality of the product.
  7. Cultural and trend influences - Flavors that reflect cultural tastes and trends can attract diverse customer bases as well. Meanwhile, ingredients that are currently trendy in ice creams, such as matcha, turmeric, or activated charcoal, can draw attention from a wider audience.
  8. Availability and accessibility - This refers to the distribution and availability of ice creams. Availability in various locations, including supermarkets, specialty stores, and online, ensures easy access. Meanwhile, ice cream parlors and specialty stores offer an experience that can attract customers looking for more than just the product.
  9. Ethical and environmental considerations - Environmentally friendly packaging and sustainable sourcing of ingredients are becoming increasingly important. Ethically sourced ingredients, such as fair trade chocolate or vanilla, attract ethically minded consumers.

How to boost ice cream sales?

Boosting ice cream sales is crucial for ice cream stores and retailers to keep businesses thriving and growing in their peak season and beyond. This can be achieved through a combination of marketing, customer engagement, product innovation, and operational efficiency. Take a look at the various strategies that can help your ice cream shops increase sales in time for the hot season:


Innovate new flavors and offerings

Continuously innovating your ice cream offerings is a major key to growth and success. Rotate your menu with innovative and seasonal flavors to keep the offerings fresh and exciting. Provide a range of non-dairy and vegan options using almond, coconut, or oat milk bases. Clearly label these options to attract vegan and lactose-intolerant customers and keep everyone out of harm. Of course, you can also develop recipes for low-sugar or low-calorie ice creams to appeal to health-conscious consumers.


Custom creations can also keep things inspiring for the customers. Allow them to design their own ice cream by choosing a base flavor and adding mix-ins like candies, fruits, or nuts. Introduce gourmet flavors using high-quality ingredients such as Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, or fresh local fruits. Artisanal presentation, with beautiful scoops, elegant containers, and handmade touches, can also help emphasize the craft and quality of your ice cream.


Create seasonal promotions

Seasonal promotions are a quick way to encourage ice cream sales during peak or low seasons. Offer discounts, buy-one-get-one-free deals, or special pricing during the summer. Highlight seasonal flavors like berry blends, tropical fruits, or refreshing mint.


Creating and promoting flavors inspired by holidays can also be effective. This includes pumpkin spice flavor for Halloween, peppermint for Christmas, or chocolate-dipped strawberries for Valentine’s Day. Use festive packaging to enhance the appeal.


Develop loyalty programs

Implement a punch card system where customers earn free ice cream after a certain number of purchases. This encourages repeat visits from customers and fans. You can also offer exclusive discounts, early access to new flavors, or special events for loyalty program members to make them feel valued.


Improve in-store promotions and visual displays

Engaging in-store promotions can also go a long way for ice cream retailers. Regularly offer free samples of new or popular flavors to entice customers to try them and buy more. Create combo deals such as an ice cream float with a soda, or a sundae with a hot beverage. These can increase the average transaction value.


Leveling up your visual displays also improves the appearance and atmosphere of ice cream stores and gelato shops. Digital labels, for example, modernize the environment, enhance visual merchandising, and streamline operations. SOLUM Newton Freezer isre the best freezer labels, able to adapt to various cold environments. This kind of digital label solution is ideal for ice cream shops that offer multiple product offerings and seasonal promotions. It’s also good for creating informative and engaging in-store experiences for ice cream stores. This is because they can incorporate QR codes for custom recommendations, detailed descriptions, and allergen warnings. 


Create interactive experiences

Interactive experiences, especially those geared toward young kids and families, will help boost ice cream sales. Since kids and families are some of the biggest consumers and audiences of the ice cream industry, it would make sense to ensure that you’re creating a good experience for them.


Occasionally host live demonstrations showing how your ice cream is made. This can be a draw for both children and adults. You can also offer ice cream-making workshops or tastings, which can be a fun activity for families, friends, or corporate team-building events. Provide child-sized portions and flavors that appeal to kids, like bubblegum or cotton candy. If possible, create a small play area or have kid-friendly activities available, such as coloring books or small toys.


Integrate technology and convenience

Of course, ice cream retailers also need to keep up with modern tools and systems. Mobile apps can make a huge difference for ice cream shops and improve ice cream sales. Develop a mobile app that allows customers to order ahead and skip the line. You can also use the app to send exclusive offers and notifications to customers, further encouraging sales.


Engage with the community

Community engagement is crucial, especially for local ice cream parlors and gelato shops. Sponsor local sports teams, school events, or community festivals. You can also partner with local charities and donate a portion of sales to support their causes. And of course, regularly collecting and acting on customer feedback can vastly improve products and services.


With these strategies, ice cream shops can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and ultimately boost sales for the hot season even when it’s not.


For digital labels on your ice cream shop, talk to SOLUM experts today and learn how you can boost profit with a modern solution!

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