I remember the length of the line outside the Glendale, NSW store when it opened. It stretched down the pathway, past the other stores. The people waiting in line didn’t seem at all phased by the length and anticipated wait time – they just wanted to get inside the store. At first I wondered if an Apple store had just opened its doors but I was very surprised to find this line up was for plain old frozen yogurt.
Yogurtland was launched in the USA in 2006 and opened its first Australian store in 2013. Promoting “the finest quality frozen yogurt made from only the realest ingredients”, it has caused what I can only describe as a case of brain freeze for the average frozen yogurt consumer. Why was this product so popular? Why would people line up half way down the street for frozen yogurt? The sad truth is that this frozen madness appeals to many consumers on a number of levels.
The Perception & Appeal
The purchase of frozen yogurt would be considered an impulse buy, with relatively low involvement. However, the consumer will go through a deliberate thought process, consciously or unconsciously, in making the decision to purchase. Iacobucci (2013) describes the three phases of the purchasing process – prepurchase, purchase and postpurchase. The prepurchase phase involves the identification of a need or a want. Once a consumer has identified a want for a sweet dessert, they will go through a process of shortlisting potential candidates and decide on the method of purchase as part of the purchasing phase. In the case of a desire for a cool sweet treat, it may be that the consumer is choosing between an ice-cream or frozen yogurt.
But why choose the frozen yogurt? Well apparently frozen yogurt is seen as the healthier dessert option, offering a sweet treat with less sugar. The self-serve facilities enable or empower the consumer, allowing them to feel in total control of the process. This is offset by the larger cups that are available (a point not often noticed by the consumer when making their purchase). The unique and interesting flavours available appeal to the consumers need for variety and for new and exciting product. And finally the endless array of toppings provides the ability for the consumer to tailor the experience to better suit their individual wants.
Marketers of the product have also managed to effectively tap into the consumer psyche in the way that they present the product, the store and the brand.
Marketing at Work
In addition to the healthy image that frozen yogurt portrays, there are a number of marketing tricks that are at work. Ekaterina Kohlwes, owner of an interior design company responsible for the design of a number of frozen yogurt stores provides some insight into the many psychological tricks used by frozen yogurt stores. In her discussion with Business Insider Australia author Alyson Penn she notes the following to attract consumers and more importantly keep them coming back:-
- Using the colour green to make consumers think of health;
- Using soft, rounded fonts to reflect the softness of the product;
- Using bright lights to invite and highlight the soft-serve machines (and of course the extra toppings); and
- Using mascots to target a particular segment.
Frozen yogurt is simply not the healthier alternative to ice-cream. Many consumers have a further perception that frozen yogurt is as healthy as the non-frozen kind. It couldn’t be further from the truth. A Choice investigation in 2013 revealed much about the ugly reality. Despite the various claims of low-fat, high-calcium, active cultures and omega-3, the investigation into five frozen yogurt stores demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of what nutritional benefits frozen yogurt has, if any at all. Further, the toppings that many consumers add to their frozen yogurt (often by the bucket-load) outweigh any benefit of choosing the frozen yogurt over other frozen desserts like plain old ice-cream.
In summary, frozen yogurt has become a popular product for consumers. The strength of that popularity is evident when the devastation of students at store closures becomes news! Whether it has the ability to be a long-lasting consumer product or just another fad is yet to be determined but it has certainly sustained its popularity longer than I would have expected.
Personally, not for me.
Post by D.Bonham (danbon377)
Herron, M and Clemons, R, 2013, ‘Is frozen yoghurt healthier than ice cream?’, Choice, viewed online 28 July 2016, https://www.choice.com.au/food-and-drink/dairy/yoghurt-and-ice-cream/articles/frozen-yoghurt
Iacobucci, D, 2014, Marketing Management (MM4), South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason.
Oliver, M, 2013, ‘Yogurtland boom: How Paul Siderovski built the business to 400 employees in 11 months’, Smart Company, viewed online 24 July 2016, http://www.smartcompany.com.au/people-human-resources/managing/34712-yogurtland-boom-how-paul-siderovski-built-the-business-to-400-employees-in-11-months/
Penn, A, 2014, ‘How frozen yogurt shops are designed to get you to spend more money’, Business Insider Australia, viewed online 28 July 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com.au/psychology-frozen-yogurt-shops-design-2014-7
Yang, S, 2015, ‘Harvard students ‘devastated’ about Yogurtland closing’, The Harvard Crimson, viewed online 24 July 2016, http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/9/15/yogurtland-to-close-devastated/
Yogurtland, Our Story, viewed online 24 July 2016, http://yogurtlandaustralia.com.au/ourstory.php