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‘Cool’ ice cream in Serbia: capitalising on unmet needs

Jane Priest, Teaching Fellow

Faculty Blog

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching our new cohort of on-campus students here in Edinburgh. During the marketing seminar, we explored the concepts of consumer behaviour, as well as market segmentation, targeting and positioning. I recently heard an interview online with an entrepreneur in Belgrade, Serbia, that I think neatly illustrates some of our discussion points.

Cinnamon Ice Cream & Raspberry SorbetCinnamon Ice Cream & Raspberry Sorbet (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

One of the issues we talked about in class was how the process of segmentation, targeting and positioning can help marketers identify gaps in the market, where consumer needs are unmet and opportunities await. This entrepreneur seems to have capitalised on such an opportunity, in his desire to bring something new to Serbia. The former banker from Austria has opened an upmarket ice-cream emporium in the country’s capital, and after a successful first year is planning international expansion.

First, ‘Moritz Eis’ seized the opportunities presented by a lack of competition. Apparently such start-ups in Serbia can be quite difficult due to, for example, relatively high levels of bureaucracy. This meant Moritz Eis could benefit from pioneer advantages, such as producing a novel product that capitalises on the good supply of fresh, organic, local fruit and vegetables. In addition, the product clearly chimes with what consumers want. The stylish ice cream emporium in Belgrade initially attracted a very sophisticated crowd; innovators keen to try something different (pumpkin seed sorbet anyone?). This ‘cool’ crowd has since attracted a lot of followers.

Another tactic that has generated interest is the emphasis on free samples. Ice-cream is a relatively low-involvement product and so in consumer behaviour terms, consumers are unlikely to embark on an extensive decision making process when purchasing it. They are more likely to form positive attitudes towards it following behaviour (purchase). The taste and quality of the product means Moritz Eis enjoys high conversion rates from free samples.

According to the interview, expansion plans are in place for Moritz Eis, to other south eastern European countries, as well as South America. This is less risky than moving to more pricy and saturated western markets, but it will be interesting to see if the concept travels successfully to the different market and competitive environment of South America. Will it be considered ‘cool’ there?

You can listen to the radio interview here on Monocle (nine minutes in).