What’s the first step in your retail store to make 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 statistics 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 varied needs, 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 products for these types of gift baskets, the 100+ U.S. Wholesale Supply List will help you find what you need.

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. If you have employees, ask them 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 period. However, that’s usually due to placement in a unique location within your shop 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 shop 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 business operation as well.

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