Candice Fonseca, proprietor of Delifonseca in Liverpool, shares how best to capitalise on seasonal demand and details the complexity of sourcing chocolate
KEY CALENDAR DATES
Key calendar days are very important, with Christmas proving to be a crucial time for sales. During the summer months the appetite for chocolate tends to fall, so revenue generated by chocolate produce is concentrated between the winter months through to Easter. Valentine’s Day is popular for smaller token chocolate gifts often paired with wine as opposed to Christmas trends, which see customers buy chocolate gifts in abundance, from advent calendars through to entire chocolate hampers – chocolate never fails to be a best-selling gift.
Merchandising is difficult as we don’t have enough display space for all of the ranges that we like to sell. The problem is that all space is not equal with the eye-line, with end-aisle positions being the most premium. This gets particularly difficult at Christmas when we triple our range, so we spend considerable time swapping stock positions around on the run-up to Christmas to encourage sales across the board. The way that products are displayed has a direct impact on sales, so it is important to get it right by grouping things together logically in ranges and also in types, whether it is grab, everyday, gift or luxury gift. As customers hate to ask the price, it is vital to always display the prices of each product clearly. Usually we just have shelf edge prices, but when the display gets full we often use the traditional price-gun so a customer can pick up a product and see exactly how much it costs.
It is important to order stock for a specific event early, leaving plenty of time to sell out and replace stock if need be, rather than having excess stock at the end of the key sales period. Quirky items are always popular for any occasion and gain interest from customers as well as making for a great social media post, so it is essential for us to consider the items on offer as well as the supplier. In an ideal world our stock would be locally produced, ethically sourced, beautifully packaged and above all, delicious – although finding products to meet all of that criteria can be a challenge. We try and find the best of its type in each category, for example, we are stocking a great raw organic chocolate brand called Pana whilst our 100g bars are all either Fairtrade, organic or local. However, in the grab gift range the price points and appearance become more important and the ranges such as Monty Bojangles, Lily O’Brien and Pure all do very well.
7 MUST-STOCK CHOCOLATE BRANDS:
• Willie’s Cacao
• James Chocolate
• Lilly O’Brien
• Monty Bojangles
• Booja Booja