What’s your first step to making money with gift baskets? You start by creating a line of gift baskets customers buy. Here’s how.

Five key questions

Before you begin making gift baskets, you either have lots of items already in your product line (another article helps you with selections), or you need to choose an assortment for designing.

Key questions to answer before you start are:

  • What signs lead you to believe that gift baskets will be profitable?
  • Where will pre-sales assembly, display, and storage be completed?
  • What is the marketing strategy for in-print and online advertising?
  • What’s the time line, from operations to marketing, to begin selling?
  • What metrics will be reviewed to determine the venture’s success?

The ability to make macaroni and cheese that intoxicates friends and family does not translate into launching a restaurant. There’s a substantial difference between the two ventures. Yet, some retailers make the mistake of including gift baskets that never sell. Their customers are not gift basket buyers even though they visit the store or website for other merchandise.

What you need for creating a line of gift baskets customers buy

Customers have varying palates, and the same is true about recipients who ultimately receive the gifts. If you start with a line of 6-8 gift baskets, a design mix with the following themes will be adequate for testing.

  • Savory
  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Local
  • Party
  • Organic
  • Gluten Free
  • Chocolate

If you have trouble finding this mix, the Wholesale Suppliers in Your State will uncover local resources.

Each gift basket will require a theme name according to the selection, branding, or regional location. If one collection doesn’t sell as quickly as others, it’s appropriate to either change the product mix or the theme name. Ask your staff for feedback, and also survey customers for their opinion.

When to Start Planning

Timing is important in every retail venture, and the best time to begin a gift basket sales plan is at least 12 months before launch. Some retailers profit within a shorter time line. However, that’s usually due to placement in a unique location or having an inside connection to corporate sales.

Launch planning includes:

  • Date of introduction
  • What to buy (unless products are in stock)
  • Inventory management
  • Pricing
  • Shipping
  • Customizations
  • Website update
  • Staff training (explained in this topic)
  • Shelf space accommodations

Don’t let someone else’s sudden success encourage you to try the same unless you know without a doubt that the stars will align for your company in a similar manner.

Holiday Planning Starts Now

Store owners who review end-of-holiday sales before attending the season’s first trade shows are in a good position to exceed last year’s sales.

Knowing what sold and why makes it easier to order merchandise for gift baskets that customers buy throughout the year and during the upcoming holiday season. This same research ought to be part of your inclusion as well.

What questions do you have about creating a line of gift baskets that customers buy?

Shirley George Frazier
In the gift basket world, all roads lead to Shirley George Frazier, the industry's reigning expert and international authority. Shirley is chief basketologist at Sweet Survival LLC and author of the industry's best-selling books, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, The Gift Basket Design Book, and Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business. Shirley works with manufacturers and retailers to successfully add gift baskets to their current revenue streams. Shirley is also a frequent speaker at events and instructor of the popular online course, Start Your Own Gift Basket Business. Contact Shirley to speak at your event or call 973-279-2799 to schedule a consultation.

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