The excitement of developing a product that hasn’t been sold before can only be matched by how daunting it can feel to do something that hasn’t proven to be successful. Without an exact path to follow, it can be difficult to figure out if you’re headed in the right direction.
So what do you do when you don’t have indicators to which you can compare your growth? You develop your own data, and start figuring out that path for yourself. Let’s look at the lessons you can learn from how one company went about its work as it took on two different industries.
PROOF Alcohol Ice Cream pairs alcohol and ice cream, delivering its pints directly to retail partners or through alliances with handpicked distributors. It also ships directly to customers through its online store. All of this is the result of years of data collection as the company’s co-founders worked to find the right combination of ice cream and alcohol, and then to find a market for the product. The result was a product that didn’t just disrupt one industry, but made an impact in two: ice cream and beverage alcohol.
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Research and development
PROOF is the result of years of trial and error, which became data points for the company to work from. The ice cream contains 7% Alcohol by Volume, and it didn’t arrive at that number instantly. During initial tests, either there was too little alcohol to allow it to be tasted, or it was too strong and overpowering. Other aspects had to be accounted for during the research and development process, including texture, mouthfeel, and taste.
“We have created this proprietary blend that allows us to combine alcohol and ice cream together so you get the same bite of alcohol in every spoonful of product that you have,” says Jennifer Randall-Collins, co-founder and CEO of PROOF. But, she adds, once the formula for the product was figured out, there were practical matters to consider: “Alcohol does not freeze at normal ice cream temperatures.”
Data for shipping
PROOF had to figure out not only the temperature at which to store the ice cream, but it had to find a solution for shipping it to customers as well. Two main challenges existed from the shipping perspective: how to ship a perishable product, and how to deal with varying regulations on both a state and federal basis.
Data helps PROOF navigate the complex laws surrounding alcohol shipments in different states, and it helps provide transparency into the shipment process. PROOF ice cream is shipped in dry ice and fit into short delivery windows, but if something goes wrong the company needs to know right away to make sure it can take care of its customers. For that reason, it also has shipping insurance coverage.
PROOF is based in South Carolina, and it is available in stores in the southeastern United States and parts of California. But it ships everywhere in the country that doesn’t restrict alcohol delivery. The company has also used data from its marketing efforts to build its customer base, collecting information from its online sales that informs its digital ad campaigns.
Next steps for the company include testing new markets for the product as well as different flavors. Data is involved in all of its plans. Part of the process of figuring out new flavors involves looking at various liquors and seeing which alcohol brand alignments will create the most successful business partnership.
It’s challenging enough to be a disruptor in one industry. PROOF was able to meet what could often be strict regulations because it looked at the appropriate data and applied the information to its own goals. The right analytics solution should be scalable to your company’s targets, and data can lead the way to success. If you’re not sure how to use data to find that success? It never hurts to look at what other companies were able to do as proof.
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