Retail Business Case Study – Snola Snowballs

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Snola Snowballs Overview

Snowballs are a basic New Orleans staple, but this business takes things to the next level. Every day Snola Snowballs has a line that stretches around the block. This snowball shop changed everything with the Original Cheesecake Stuffed Snowball and “snowball tasting.” Owner Monika Crossley describes their product as the gourmet version of the original shaved ice.

“We believe every craft is an art, so that’s where each recipe comes from,” she said. “What it tastes like, what it looks like, it’s all part of the process.” She says the atmosphere at Snola Snowballs locations is like a coffee house for snowballs, only more lively.

For those who don’t know, a snowball is completely different from a snow cone. It’s made of fine, fluffy ice that absorbs the syrup where a snow cone has coarse, granular ice and the syrup sinks to the bottom.

The Problems

Snola Snowballs owners started out creating and managing their own website and other aspects of their online presence. It seemed like the way to go, but before long they began noticing some problems.

“We got constant notifications about people wanting to make changes to our business,” Monika said. Once a visitor altered their social media page to say they were a hamburger joint. Customers showed up looking for menu items or services they didn’t offer. They left angry and disappointed.

People also changed their online business hours. On databases like Foursquare and Yelp competitors or confused patrons said they were closed when they were open and vice versa.

It rattled employees when angry visitors banged on the door 20 minutes after close. Potential clients who stopped by before the business actually opened drove away in disgust.

Owners were concerned how unauthorized changes impacted their online credibility. They had entered the correct information. They wanted to make sure customers saw them at their best. That’s when they talked to the experts at Spade Design.

Objectives

Spade Design’s team sat down with Snola Snowballs’ owners and together they generated the following objectives:

  • Create consistency between the company website, directory sites, social media channels and other sources for their company name, address, phone number, business hours etc.
  • Redesign the website for better alignment with the Snola Snowballs brand and consumer values.
  • Make it easier for customers to find their locations.
  • Maximize search presence with on-page optimization.
  • Develop a strategy for online promotion of events, specials and promotions.
  • Improve awareness of Snola Snowballs’ catering services.

Owners Kerry and Monika knew what they wanted their new site to look like. Kerry described to Spade Design things he liked on other sites. He also wanted the new site to be more informative about Snola Snowballs’ services and extras. “Spade basically made it everything we wanted it to be,” said Monika.

The Changes

For every business Spade Design works with, one of the first questions we ask stakeholders is what sets them apart. If you do everything your competitor does with no differentiation, we can’t help. Our brand positioning strategy involves spotlighting what makes each business unique and communicating that clearly to consumers.

Brand Positioning

New Orleans is full of snowball shops. Several of them are famous. One has been around since 1939. We wanted to show how Snola Snowballs’ offerings are unique.

Snola Snowballs adds fresh fruit and other toppings to their snowballs. Unlike many New Orleans sidewalk vendors, they offer an indoor customer experience. Many snowball sellers are closed during cold months, but Snola stays open year round.

The most important thing though, is the fact that their snowballs are stuffed with cheesecake. We communicate all the ways Snola is better, but we placed their mouth-watering cheesecake stuffed snowballs at the heart of the business because that’s what their customers are looking for.

Content Creation

Monika and Kerry worked hard to create a product that’s first a visual indulgence, then it makes your brain cells have a mini-meltdown as soon as it hits your taste buds. We focused on creating content that conveyed that to site visitors. We stocked their gallery with high quality images of their wide variety of flavors. We also used video to engage audiences.

Website Redesign

We redesigned their website to showcase their cheesecake stuffed snowballs and the welcoming atmosphere of their locations. The updated site is optimized for both human visitors and search engines.

Navigation is designed for the user. A simple menu shows everything they serve and nothing they don’t, so visitors no longer show up asking for hamburgers. We created a form for catering requests to capture catering leads and used blog content to share current news and events.

See their new site here.

Information Consistency

Elsewhere on the web we created information consistency to eliminate confusion.

The Results

Increase in overall sales:

  • Month 1 after hiring Spade Design, Snola Snowballs showed a 15 percent increase in overall sales.
  • Month 2 sales were 32 percent higher than the year before.

Increase in publicity:

  • In previous years the same (1) news outlet did an annual story on Snola’s snowballs.
  • After implementing changes, every one of the 7 major news agencies contacted them, a 600 percent increase.
  • 50 percent of those news agencies contacted Snola Snowballs through their website. When reporters Googled businesses, an improved online presence led them to Snola.
  • Multiple local publications and tourist organizations also reported on their snowballs.

More Catering Business:

Before the changes, Snola got a catering lead from their website “every few months or so.” Now they get multiple catering leads through their site every single week. (Matthew, she guestimated,  beginning number was 5 a year.  Their new traffic at two week is 104. I’m using % increase = (new number – original number)/original number x 100. (104-5)/5 x 100 = 1,980. That’s not a number she gave me and I don’t know if I’m figuring correctly.) Their catering leads have increased by a staggering 1,980 percent.

“The increase in catering alone offsets the cost for Spade Design’s services,” said Monika.

More Site Traffic

Organic traffic, time visitors spent on site, online transactions and page ranking all went up.

Does Your Business Need a Change?

The improved site has become Snola Snowballs’ best sales tool. We dare you to spend ten minutes browsing and not have an irresistible craving for snowballs.

What might happen if your business saw increases like theirs? Get in touch, let’s make it happen.

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