One of the most enjoyable aspects of operating a gift basket business can also be the one most likely to lead to sales problems. When running a gift basket business, you must apply one basic marketing strategy to your plans — filling a need in the marketplace. Don’t let the personal creative process lead to a lack of sales by making baskets you feel are interesting and valuable, rather than what large target customer groups want.
Sell the Right Baskets
Don’t rely on your personal taste to make common baskets or choose the gourmet foods, beauty products, pet toys and accessories, edible sweets or children’s toys that will go into them. Look at what established businesses have determined — through years of trial and error and the process of elimination — are the best basket types to sell. Create a unique selling differential based on price, delivery, personal service or other aspects of client needs, benefits or satisfaction to sell baskets consumers are asking for. If everyone else is making the same baskets you’ve thought of, you might be on the right track, but you’ll also have significant competition.
Work with Charities
Donate gift baskets to silent auctions or as raffle or door prizes to promote your business in the community. Hundreds of people will see your baskets during the hours of an event, read your literature and learn about your company, and your only cost will be the basket — the host organization will bear the cost of bringing people to the event. Offer a discount to the members of nonprofits, including trade associations with corporate members, in exchange for free advertising in the organization’s newsletter or magazine or on its website. Instead of a member-discount program, offer a donation to the organization on each sale as a fundraiser.
Cross Promote with Your Suppliers
The people who sell you the items you put into your baskets might have customer lists filled with people who have demonstrated they want or need the items in your baskets. The more your suppliers’ customers buy your baskets, the more product the suppliers will sell to you. Advertise on their websites and ask them to promote you via their email blasts, tweets and social media page posts.
Create a separate brochure or flyer for corporate gift baskets if your business lends itself to this audience. Visit the offices of local businesses or send them your brochures, offering to include one or two of their logoed items in your basket. For example, businesses imprint their logos on golf balls, caps, key chains, mugs and T-shirts. Include some photos in your brochure of custom baskets that prominently display a company’s logo among the other items you place in the basket.
Create Holiday Baskets
People have multiple excuses to send gift baskets thanks to Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Create different baskets for each holiday and begin promoting them weeks ahead of time. Place sample baskets in stores that sell holiday items, offering to let each store raffle its basket the day before the holiday in exchange for several weeks’ worth of promotional display. Start a birthday club that lets potential recipients give you the email of a spouse or parent who you alert a week or two before their special someone’s big day.