In the article, “Ice trends present business opportunities for dealers,” featured in a previous issue of Water Technology, we discuss the “iced beverage craze” and how supplying ice can boost business for dealers and their customers.

Throughout the U.S., the allure of iced beverages continues to rise among consumers. Iced tea, iced coffee and other cold/frozen beverages are no longer simply seasonal or regional trends. The growing appeal of iced beverages is causing the demand in ice to rise, and the water industry and dealers should take note.

According to a Heart+Mind Strategies study, the U.S. uses more than 250 billion pounds of ice, on average, each year; and while water remains a popular choice during the day and into the night, iced beverages such as coffee and tea are increasingly consumed throughout the afternoon hours.

Dealers should consider this spike in consumption and turn toward ice technology for potential business opportunities.

Educating customers on ice technology

Although the end product is relatively the same, ice machines must be treated differently than water treatment equipment.

The price tag for an ice machine is often higher than the overall cost of a water system, such as a water cooler. Dealers must help customers look past any initial sticker shock and view an ice machine as a quality investment. Although higher in price, an ice machine provides more than simply a way to cool down a beverage. In an office setting, ice machines can be useful for injured or overheated employees as well as for business functions, meetings and parties.

Although the initial costs of an ice machine may seem high, the expansive range of benefits can lead to a valuable return on investment (ROI); furthermore, workers no longer have to leave the office when craving an ice cold, refreshing beverage, not only allowing for a little extra cushion in employees’ wallets but also increasing the overall morale and productivity of the workplace.

Several different makes and models are available with prices typically ranging from a few hundred dollars for a small countertop machine with an open ice machine to thousands of dollars for a large ice and water dispenser with enclosed storage and hands-free dispensing. Dealers must discuss the following key considerations with their customers:

  • Sizing: Select machines that will serve the customer’s needs
  • Quality/reliability: They have to work and be trouble-free
  • Sanitary dispensing: Avoid hand scooping in most cases
  • Ice type: The right ice enhances satisfaction and most people prefer the soft, chewable ice in their beverages.

Staying aware of the latest trends impacting the water industry, such as the growing popularity of iced beverages, can help dealers enhance overall business productivity and profitability.

You can find the entire feature on ice trends here.