A pale pink truck glides to a halt outside a downtown building, while a cluster of people push forward, clutching dollar bills. Eager for an afternoon sugar fix, the office workers quickly snapped up cupcakes, from key lime to plain chocolate, happily parting with $3 for the privilege. The cupcake craze, hugely popular in some cities, has a new flavor in Washington, D.C., where one entrepreneur opted to keep it moving instead of opening a standing-still store. What a nice twist…the product coming to the consumer!
Besides a distinctive truck, this cupcake business relies on instant communication to, excuse the pun, drive traffic. Tweeting her locations and the day’s flavor choices, adding a personal touch—“don’t cry, Joan, you didn’t miss us and we’ll see you very soon”—the cupcake provider brings her sweet wares to customers hungry for more.
They could choose a vending machine, a nearby coffee shop for a pastry, into a deli or drugstore for a packaged snack—for less cash. Why head for the cupcake van, like kids chasing an ice cream truck on an August day? “When I want a fresh cupcake, I can tweet her and run out to get just what I need,” said one woman. “I was at off-site meetings last week and felt I really l missed something. Not just my cupcakes, but someone catering to ME.”
There’s the key. By interacting with customers, making them part of the process—“We’re offering red velvet and vanilla tomorrow, what’s your favorite flavor?”—the cupcake maker pulls in support and enthusiasm. Advertising reaches out, but the new, two-way connection pulls in, as a speedier way to take the pulse. Need to add stops to your route, or cut a slow-seller? Those tweets and texts will tell you. Customers may offer suggestions, or place advance orders, and feel you’re doing them a favor.
Tapping a simple want and adding trendy twists baked up in a business boom.
What’s the fresh ingredient in your own taste for success?