Photo used under creative commons, shot by: Erin Kohlenberg Photo
We interrupt this series on sugar to bring you a list of tips to boost summer chocolate sales! At least in North America, the warmer summer months tend to result in a droop in sales, unless you are lucky enough to be situated in an area with lots of tourist traffic. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that you can do to increase your summer sales and keep your bottom line healthy.
1) Theme a collection. Summer is the perfect time to work on introducing new flavours, and if you do it right, it can bring traffic into your store. I have done summer collections based on what I’ve found at my local farmers market – one flavour per week for the whole summer. For example, berries are in season and these flavours pair wonderfully with chocolate. I’ve also done a series of chocolates based on summer cocktails – piña coladas, daquiris & mojitos. The world is your oyster here – the summer brings a little time to play, but maximize that play by sharing it with your customers, and make it summer themed. Don’t forget to take pictures and share them on social media!
2) Ice your drinks. If your shop sells coffee, tea, or drinking chocolate, invest in a freezer and a blender and you’ve got an easy way to make those beverages cold and refreshing for a hot summer day. You can even do it on a major budget without a blender – get some ice and a martini shaker and serve your drinks on ice instead of blended – it’s pennies per drink and more people will buy when its cold and refreshing.
3) Bring in ice cream. If you have a chocolate shop, nothing goes better with chocolate in the summer than ice cream. If you can’t make it yourself, find a good local maker and bring in their stuff. My summer sales went up 35% when I started carrying a local, artisan ice cream. They went up even more when I offered sundaes with house made sauces – caramel, local fruits, and of course chocolate sauce. The markup on this is high, and the labour is low, making it easy for you to quickly pay off the investment in a freezer!
Our Chocolate Masters Hangout on Google+ has lots of great information about making ice cream and gelato. It features Jeff Dickey from Zocalisa Chocolates & Gelato, and Richard Tango-Lowy from Dancing Lion Chocolate.
4) Run contests. Get on your social media feeds and have your customers name bonbons, choose flavours, or guess ‘mystery photos’ from your kitchen. If they come into the store and guess correctly, they win something! The prize can be tiny – just one bonbon or a beverage. It might cost you a tiny amount to give away a bonbon or two, but those people will love the engagement, they will bring friends along, and they will often spend money more while they are there than you ever gave away in product. Get creative and build your audience in the summertime, and they will come back all winter for gifts and treats.
5) Consider a pop up shop. If your business isn’t in a location that gets a lot of summer traffic, consider opening a pop up shop (e.g. a temporary stall or kiosk) in a higher traffic location. You’ll need to do your homework to make sure that it’s financially and logistically feasible, but it could be another great way to boost summer sales, and make connections with customers that will come back to you during the winter/spring holidays. We will have lots more tips about pop up shops in a future blog post, so stay tuned!
To read the other posts in this series click on our Bean2Bonbon Blog overview page.
Want to learn more about making delicious chocolates and confections? Check out our Professional Chocolatier Program!
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