New York Ice Cream Shop Sees 5% of Sales Via Mobile Payments

Plans to boost buys for National Ice Cream Day

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New York ice cream shop Van Leeuwen began rolling out mobile payments through PayPal earlier this year, and now makes roughly $200—or about 5 percent—through smartphone transactions at its East Village location. To take these efforts up a notch, the company is one of eight merchants in Gotham offering a $5 offer through PayPal to celebrate National Ice Cream Day on Sunday. 

"Since we started using PayPal about three-and-a-half months ago or so, I’ve definitely noticed a trending upward of sales from people using PayPal—especially at our one store that’s in Manhattan, our East Village location," said Jon Okon, Van Leeuwen’s office manager. Van Leeuwen has two locations and one pop-up store in Brooklyn and also operates food trucks in addition to the East Village store. Okon noted that the Brooklyn locations bring in slightly less—roughly $100 to $200 weekly—mobile revenue than the Manhattan store.

The other New York merchants participating in the offer this weekend are the Chikalicious Dessert Club, Chocolate Bar, Funkiberry, M’o Gelato, Victory Garden NYC, Mia Chef Gelateria INC and Albero Dei Gelati. Merchants in Austin and California’s South Bay Area also plan to run themed deals.

To redeem the offer at Van Leeuwen, consumers first need to install the PayPal app and link it to a PayPal account. The app uses location-based technology that lets users check in, find the offer and check out at the point-of-sale.

For some of the other merchants, PayPal is set up so that customers can preorder ice cream through the app.

PayPal cites data from Forrester Research predicting that mobile payments will bring in $90 billion by 2017.  At the same time, experts have long argued that mobile wallets and digital payments have been slow to catch on, especially for brands that aren’t Starbucks.

By pitching deals like the National Ice Cream Day offer, PayPal hopes to persuade more consumers to go cashless. In the case of Van Leeuwen, the company doesn’t push mobile payments in its marketing, so the in-app offers help get the word out about the payments.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.