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How Partnering With Postmates Helped Smitten Ice Cream Open Eight New Stores

Multiple factors aided in the expansion. But Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher says that Postmates introduces new customers to the brand — and helps keep ice cream sales high even during bad weather.

West Coast indie favorite Smitten Ice Cream started as a standalone shop in San Francisco in 2011. Six years later, Smitten has eight physical locations across the Bay Area and LA, with plans to open at least two more in 2017 — and founder Robyn Sue Fisher credits partnering with delivery app Postmates for part of her expansion success.

It’s all part of the new wave of partnerships between on-demand apps and brick-and-mortar businesses. The idea is that physical stores and restaurants produce the goods, and specialized apps provide the personalized orders and immediate delivery that today’s consumers expect. But while boosting online orders through the likes of a Postmates or Caviar is good business, why does it also have a positive impact on expanding a store’s physical footprint?

More Orders, More Stores

Well, firstly, Postmates’ reach has obvious discovery benefits: It introduces brands like Smitten to a much wider swath of consumers, who might have been searching only for “ice cream” — and if they like what they order, they often choose to visit the physical location in the future. And secondly, boosting online orders also means that brands can afford more store locations, and more employees to prepare those orders.

Brick-and-mortar businesses are actually the backbone of delivery enterprises like Postmates, which uses a city’s restaurants essentially as its warehouses. And these types of partnerships, as Postmates’ SVP Holger Luedorf told GeoMarketing earlier this year, could also be the key for more traditional retailers to competing with the likes of Amazon. The physical store locations act as stockrooms, and companies like Postmates provide the immediate or near-immediate local delivery — acting as a competitor to Amazon Prime.

In any case, the Postmates partnership is already driving increased demand for Smitten — even during unusual times, Fisher explained.

“It’s been interesting to see how Postmates has helped us mitigate some of the negative impact of weather on our business,” Fisher said in a blog post. “It’s no surprise that as soon as it starts raining, people stay home — which means they’re not out there in our neighborhoods wandering into our shops. So Postmates helps us meet people where they are — whether it’s on their couch or stuck at work — and enables our ice cream to be a part of that experience. Postmates helps us make any weather, ice cream weather.”