by Lauren Adler, @ChiefChocophile
This is a stressful time for all of us. From concerns about our health and the health of our employees to concerns about the financial stressors of COVID-19 we have a lot of things to keep us up at night. At Chocolopolis we’ve been able to keep our doors open in a modified fashion, which has helped with the financial stress of this situation. Something that’s been a complete surprise to us is the significant spike in online orders for chocolate. I wanted to share the trends we’ve seen in hopes that it might help my fellow FCIA members.
Before I share our experiences selling chocolate online I wanted to say that I understand that many of you have had to shut down production and retail operations. My heart goes out to you and to your teams and I hope that you will be able to start up again soon, if the conditions are safe. For those of you still open, I expect, like us, you’ve had to modify operations with social distancing and lots of disinfecting. I never thought I would use so much rubbing alcohol, but it’s my new staple and I hope it’s yours as well.
So what’s selling? Chocolate bundles crafted around an experience. While the bundles we offer have been on our website for years, we’ve seen a significant spike in their sales since the quarantines started.
It should be no great surprise that people are looking for experiences to share. Not only with their families in quarantine but with friends and colleagues online. For example, one customer sent a bundle of bars to one of her employees so that when they have their next virtual one-on-one they can share a bar and talk about it (she bought a bundle for herself, too).
How do you create a successful chocolate bundle experience? It’s all about the content. Create content that’s personal to you and your chocolate and share it in a way that’s interesting to customers. For example, if you’re a chocolate maker you could gather 3 bars from your collection that you think go well as a tasting bundle and write a personal note to include in the bundle explaining why you chose this grouping of bars. Another idea is to use your own rituals to create a group of bars or confections that has a personal touch to it. How do you taste chocolate? What methodologies or techniques work for you? Create a letter that shares your personal ritual and perhaps includes a sheet that you might use yourself when taking tasting notes.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. At the end of the day the content you create needs to reflect you and your company. Make sure to check out FCIA's new Make Mine Fine marketplace, a place where consumers can discover and connect with FCIA members who have a chocolate retail operation. If you’re a member who sells chocolate to consumers and you don’t see your company listed, please email Executive Director Bill Guyton with your information.