Ice cream continues to go mobile, with the latest effort coming from Mars, Inc., which is piloting a “store-hailing” initiative in Hollywood, Calif., that features on-demand mobile ice cream stores.
Products from Mars’ ice cream portfolio — including ice cream pints, bars, and cookies from the M&Ms, Snickers, and Twix brands — will be available within a fleet of mobile stores provided by Conjure. Consumers can place their ice cream orders using their smartphones to be delivered to their location within minutes. A check-out free system lets customers simply pick up their ice cream from the mobile store and walk away.
The pilot kicks off this spring, and the company plans to expand to more locations later this year.
Shaf Lalani, general manager of Mars ice cream, said the initiative will further advance the unattended retail industry, continuing to drive innovation in the ice cream category.
Jerome Morgen, senior global director of Mars unattended retail, noted the pilot also helps solve a consumer pain point: ice cream melting before they reach home after an in-store purchase.
Learn more about Mars:
- The company launched a loyalty experience, giving consumers a way to earn rewards every time they purchase eligible Mars products. Read more.
- The company is investing in digital twins for its factories around the world after initial trials showed success in improving efficiencies. Read more.
- Mars’ Carol Van Den Hende, senior director digital transformation, digs into digitally-powered sustainability efforts. Read more.
More Ice Cream Innovation
The ice cream space has seen significant digital growth over the past year. Competing company Unilever, for example, has launched similar strategies, leaning on technology and data to power up efforts.
In December, Unilever launched a frictionless, digital tool that allows retailers to easily stock up on ice cream whenever needed, along with smart freezers that automatically detect out-of-stocks, location data-optimized delivery, and automated WhatsApp chatbot functionality to communicate inventory needs.
Under a separate partnership, Unilever also invested in ice cream delivery, making brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Bryers, Good Humor, and Magnum available from Unilever’s virtual storefront, The Ice Cream Shop, to consumers in more than 2,000 locations in the United States.
And following a similar, mobile and one-touch model to Mars, Unilever is also piloting ice cream delivery via a fleet of Robomarts, which also require no physical card swiping at checkout.