How to make the most of your summer ice cream sales

Summer can only mean ice cream – and lots of it. Retailers who stock the right range and in a good display can sit back and let the sun do the rest.

The right range

Retailer viewpoints
  • “We’re installing a new ice cream freezer and we’re going to get more price-marked ice creams as they sell well.”
    Adam Hogwood, Budgens of Broadstairs, Kent.
  • “I run special offers on ice cream. Buy one get one free on Magnum is very popular.”
    Varun Munde, Munde Holdings, Bristol.
  • “In the summer the students have gone home and it’s much quieter. But there are summer schools and 1,500 staff so we try and offer seasonal goods, like ice creams.”
    Ruth Booker, Uni Shop, University of Lincoln.
  • “We move the ice cream freezer outside the store on warm and sunny days. We sell so much more as a result.”
    Gwenda Parry, 

As every retailer knows, when the temperature increases, so do ice cream sales. Ice cream is broadly divided into products designed to eat now, and products designed to take home to eat later, such as multipacks and tubs. While singles drive impulse purchases, take-home ice cream is popular for shoppers who are entertaining at home.

Charlotte Hambling, head of marketing for R&R Ice Cream says multipacks and tubs have a very important place in convenience over the summer months as they are driving growth.

“Mondelez tubs, at a £3 price point are popular options and we recommend the Oreo and Daim varieties for the core range,” she adds.

Offering a range of products and formats allows you to cater for a wide range of customer needs. Noel Clarke, brand building director for ice cream at Unilever, says: “Investing in a large freezer not only increases visibility but also allows retailers to sell a broader range of products.” Retailers with smaller stores can boost visibility with PoS, especially outdoor PoS such as flags, that tells passers-by they can find a refreshing snack in your store.

Finding the most suitable formats is one thing, but selling it at the right price is crucial. Bep Dhaliwal, trade communications manager for Mars Ice Cream, says: “Convenience and value for money have continued to be a key focus for shoppers over the past year.” Earlier this year, Mars introduced a cheaper ice cream bar for Galaxy Vanilla, RRP 75p.

The right promotion

The best way to promote your ice cream sales is through good visibility. It can be tempting to hide freezers in a corner, but letting your customers know that you sell them is one of the most effective ways of boosting sales.

Clarke says: “Ice cream freezers should be located in a prominent place, close to the till or near the shop window to drive shoppers in.”

Another great way to sell more ice cream, according to Hambling, is to cross-promote. “Use PoS and displays to highlight meal solutions for tonight as well as cater for shoppers looking for something more indulgent for a night in,” she says. Placing ice cream next to frozen pizza and frozen meals can increase basket spend.

Ice cream is an incredibly impulsive category so customers are more likely to grab the products they recognise. Adrian Troy, head of marketing for AG Barr, encourages retailers to get behind brands that are being backed by big campaigns. The company is expecting its Irn-Bru ice cream lollies to benefit from a large brand campaign for Irn-Bru this year, and it will be supporting its Rubicon frozen range with a national TV ad this summer.

Customers are also more likely to be drawn in by on-pack promotions that offer something extra, says Dhaliwal. “This year Mars launched its biggest ever on-pack promotion, giving away more than 100,000 ice creams,” she adds. The promotion includes Mars, Snickers, Bounty and Maltesers singles as well as the Mars and Snickers six-packs.

Get more tips and advice for with our special Create Your Own Summer wall of ideas.


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