Topic: Strategy

Ideas On How To Increase Business At A Retail Gourmet Popcorn Store

Posted by Pepper Blue on 125 Points
My client owns a gourmet popcorn store. This is the most awesome popcorn you have ever tasted. It is available in over 40 flavors. They use real cheese, made from scratch carmel, tons of love and care. Price is from $5-$13 a pound. Available in any weights. This may seem like a lot to pay but a pound of real cheddar cheese popcorn is alot of food. Not something the average family eats every night, but considering how much snack the average American family does consume, this is not only a good value but is much healthier and could easily be 1-2 time a month thing. It also makes a great gift, great for office parties, to bring to a host for a casual at party at their house, great for road trips. etc.

O.K. broad question for the group: What are some of your ideas for marketing this? I know this very general, but as a frequent "MarketingProf Expert" I'm on the other side of the fence now and looking for some back of the napkin feedback here to see what kind ideas the community can come up with.

We recently implemented an email marketing program for a buy one get one free, with the stipulation that you share the free bag with a friend and then forward/encourage them to sign up for the newsletter where they will get their own free coupon and buy one get one free and then forward the email etc. to get a viral thing happening. Moderate results so far. Looking forward to some good feedback!
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  • Posted on Accepted
    I think it depends on what the brand will support. (are we talking ben&jerry's, before they were bought?)

    It sounds like the kind of product that'll have customers who make a positive choice to buy this brand over others - so maybe they've got opinions that you can tap into.

    Instinctively I'd try to spin a community out of the email program that you've started.
    It lets the customers develop their own momentum - and just maybe with encouragement they can draw in like-minded friends.

    Does your client offer seasonal flavours - maybe a customer community can help out, & give suggestions... put your community on the inside of the company, showing that they have real influence (which they should have)

    Can you put something into every bag... (into is better than on the bag - it's impossible to ignore) that encourages sharing... maybe using online coupon redemption to pick up newly-introduced customers, and the 'already customers ' who are introducing their first friend - and then spot who introduces many friends.

    But maybe that doesn't fit the brand? If not, don't do it.


    Will Rowan

  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Accepted
    Well, first of all try . They have a ton of promotional ideas and stats for free. You can subscribe to their "Express" membership to get even more info, but the free info is quite generous.

    I'm this "Store" an actual, physical location where people can walk in, order and sit down? Or does your client work out of their home or a kitchen and sell the popocorn online?

    In other words, "physical or virtual?".

    The answer can change your whole strategy. Since you mentioned an email campaign and newsletter, it would be easy to assume it is an online store, but I don't like making assumptons. Therefore, if you reply with an answer I will be more than happy to address the scenario...but still advise the link above for more detailed info (I am not affiliated in any way).

    I could type all morning long on both instances! Let me know if I can help more! I'll await your posting.
  • Posted by Pepper Blue on Author
    Thanks for the input, all valuable. Its great to see what ideas parallel/confirm what I am strategizing and what ideas I have not thought of.

    This one is a real marketing challenge because of the narrow niche and getting people to think of gourmet popcorn as more than just a seasonal/holiday/special occassion treat.

    Target market is consumers as well as business - birthday parties, team building meetings, customer gift ideas

    The store itself has one physical location, in a small shopping center anchored by a grocery store.

    Storefront/visibility/access are all from the parking lot, so it gets a lot of foot traffic by it.

    They also have an online store with e-commerce "shopping cart" functions. They do a minor amount of business here, alot over the Holiday season.

    Other than coupons, any ideas on what else to do with the e-newsletter? Or, if coupons are the way to go, any ideas on putting a fresh twist in them - the bag insert to "share with a friend" is a good idea and I will check out Promo Magazine.
  • Posted on Member
    What could be more fun that popcorn?? I would leverage this aspect and think about some creative, grass roots are just a few thoughts:

    · A follow the popcorn trail scavenger hunt where a series of clues (maybe your first clue comes in your popcorn package) lead people to try to find a prize, which could be hidden in your branded popcorn tin. It would be pretty hard to actually get to the prize in that the clues would be challenging and the prize needs to be interesting, but I wouldn’t give away what it is…the fun and glory is just in finding it. You could even get your customers to take part in that whoever finds the tin, packs it up with some goodies and sets the clues for the next person. Might be a fun way to get a community going online as well, posting extra clues and winners. Popcorn also seems family oriented so kids might have fun with this. Might generate a buzz….

    · Other thoughts letting the customer buy a Tshirt at cost ... 5 bucks or so, in order to get free shipping on their order. Set up a web page that shows customers wearing the Tshirt in various locations or doing funny things. Again this promotes the community and gets people talking about the brand, particularly if the Tshirt is interesting...I POP for POPCORN! or whatever. Moosejaw does this sort of thing on their website and their have been other variations of the theme with the Chicago Sun Times, people seem to get into it.

    · How about an online contest of popcorn sculptures where people submit photos of their creations? Crazy, but fun!

    I don't think of gourmet cheese or caramel popcorn as something I would advertise as health food, so I would not go that route.

    Best of Luck!
  • Posted by Pepper Blue on Author
    Much thanks to everybody, these are all very good.

    My apologizes to MarcB, Amandavega and Awisch. I closed the question out too early by mistake, I would have loved to give you points, you all deserve it!

    Your ideas are great, they really got me thinking, thanks for the direction and I hope they keep coming in!

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