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  • How does a Small Fridge Make the Difference for Häagen-Dazs?

    22 December 2016
    S.Point, Member Firm (China)

    01 Question

    20 years have passed since 1996, when Häagen-Dazs entered the Chinese mainland market and launched its first ice cream shop. The American ice cream brand name saw the vacuum in high-end ice cream market in China and the emergence of the Chinese middle class. Thus, it decided to come to the market with huge potentials. In here, it has continued its traditional business model, by launching standalone shops and setting up booths at large malls.

    The China market is complex and dynamic. Häagen-Dazs must maintain its high-end positioning among Chinese consumers. It must set itself apart from other brand names. A promotional effort by Häagen-Dazs has been to emphasize its high-quality ingredients and distinct tastes. The products they sell represent the brand image. Also, Häagen-Dazs expects to offer some distinct experiences. Therefore, it has come to S.POINT for innovation solutions.

    S.POINT strategists addressed the challenge through business insights. The strategists believed the fridge is the point of contact between Häagen-Dazs and its consumers. The consumers get to know Häagen-Dazs at the fridge, thus affecting their decision to buy. However, traditionally, the fridge failed to impress either at standalone shops or at the booths in a mall. “Let’s start from the fridge,” concluded the strategists.

    02 Insight

    The strategists moved their office to the supermarket. They spent a long time observing how consumers would react at the sight of a Häagen-Dazs fridge. They recorded things that might encourage the consumer to buy. As a high-end ice cream brand name, Häagen-Dazs expected consumers to experience something different in buying their products. The strategists discovered lots of room to improve when it came to the use of fridge.

    First, the light on the fridge was too dark. Dim lights visually presented an old and non-fresh feeling. The array of ice cream was flat – when a customer picked up an ice cream, the clerk would have to manually replenish or the array looked bad as there would be something missing in the rows. The handle of the fridge was something ordinary, while something distinctly showing the Häagen-Dazs brand image might be more conspicuous. “We are re-inventing the consumer experience,” said the strategists. “We expect the consumers to enjoy the high-end experience that is Häagen-Dazs throughout the purchase process, from seeing the fridge, opening it, picking up an ice cream, and closing the fridge door.”

    03 Solution

    Now when you happen upon a Häagen-Dazs store, most likely the fridge is a creation of the S.POINT strategist. Starting from consumer insights, following design thinking, the strategists set up a Häagen-Dazs logo light-box at the top of the fridge. Now the consumers get to see clearly the fridge from all angles. The fridge is in Häagen-Dazs’ trademark color, red. The brand image is conspicuous now.

    The strategists have changed how the lights are applied. They use horizontal lighting so that the whole fridge gets lighted up. The handle of the fridge door is in a curve shape now, so that the consumer opens the door more conveniently while the handle feels good. The flat array of ice creams is changed too. The strategists work together with engineers for a nice mechanical design. Following numerous trials, now we use a ramp design. When the consumer pick up an ice cream from the first row, the ice creams on top of it automatically slide down to fill up the gap.

    The fridge is more than a shelf. In the eyes of an S.POINT strategist, the fridge is the communication channel between Häagen-Dazs and its customers. It offers an opportunity to experience the brand name. Such experience is helped by design that is based on insights. The strategists use design thinking to address what they discover about consumer behaviors. The result is that the fridge becomes an effective communication channel. Thus, design produces great business value.


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