Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco
No doubt, chocolate is a bestseller, but even a candy superstar can benefit from a little merchandising. Customers want more from their in-store retail experience and are willing to pay more for it. With a little planning and thoughtful grouping of products you can help boost your chocolate sales.
You don’t need a design or marketing degree to create a stellar merchandising program. Here are a few easy ways to leverage the star power of chocolate into better sales.
#1 Upscale Presentation Translates to Higher Retail Prices
An easy way to step up your merchandising game is upping the perceived value of your products. Perceived value is a term to describe what a consumer is willing to pay for a particular product.
Don’t think you have to completely renovate your store to create that premium feeling. Customers’ willingness to open their wallets can be influenced simply with product placement. For example, placing chocolate products in a refrigerated glass case, glass jars, or on trays covered with glass lids that are only accessible by store staff translates to ‘premium product’ in the eye of the consumer. Its inaccessibility means consumers perceive the product as high-end. If you don’t have the cases or the staff to incorporate this sort of change in your store, displaying your premium chocolates in elegant packaging works the same way. The more elegant the packaging, the more important and appealing the product.
#2 Color Creates a Mood
Consumers make 90% of their snap judgements on products simply based on color. When it comes to pre-packaged chocolate, color groupings can help increase sales — particularly in the impulse section.
Include a few products with vividly colored packaging that appeal to adults and children. For little ones, chocolates in bright orange or bright yellow packaging will delight their eyes. Adults are drawn to high-contrast packaging, and/or packaging with trending colors, such as bright blue and pink.
A good rule of thumb: Do not place packages or items of the same color next to each other— they won’t stand out! In bulk displays, chocolate-covered items can start to look similar, so alternate unwrapped chocolate confections with foil-wrapped chocolates to inject color.
Keep season in mind when arranging impulse packaged chocolate, chocolate in a showcase, or bulk displays. During the fall and winter months, customers are attracted to darker colors because they have a comforting, warm appeal. While in the spring and summer, consumers prefer lighter and brighter colors.
#3 Bulk up Bulk Sales with Unique Containers
Self-serve bulk chocolate is always appealing. Customers love the power and fun of selecting a personalized sampling of their favorite chocolate items. Amp up the opportunity by offering colorful containers.
You can’t go wrong with seasonal themes, or event focused containers such as Mother’s Day, baby showers, or birthdays. Customers are often willing to purchase special containers at an additional cost for use with your bulk candy selection. This creates a very personalized gift customers will love to share.
For added fun, pick trending containers that can be re-used, like insulated tumblers, coffee mugs with humorous sayings, floral vases, and colorful takeout containers. Stick your store label on the package, or tuck a business card in between the package and the wrapping so recipients know where to purchase when it is their turn to gift.
#4 Gift Sets are Always in Season
Chocolate gift sets have year-round appeal, even in the warmer months. So standard year-round gift set options that feature your own themed packaging are a must for regular customers, like real estate agents, or veterinarians, health and wellness institutions, other types of businesses with folks who purchase gifts on a consistent basis.
During the holidays, a retailer that can help relieve the holiday gifting stress is a winner in customers’ books. Because it’s a busy time of year for you too, save some time by pairing your own seasonal chocolate creations with everyday best sellers. Don’t be afraid to use high-end chocolate brands in your gift baskets, mugs, and other containers. It’s a real time-saver. Or, you can mix in seasonal items from top manufacturers with your own year-round confections for a stunning presentation with minimal time investment.
If you don’t have the manpower to package your own gift sets, there are other ways to capitalize on gift sets. Chocolate items packaged in acetate tubs are a timesaving (and cost saving) solution. On their own, clear tubs are ideal as grab & go items, and when stacked, 3 or more, tubs can be tied with colorful ribbon and a gift tag, to create an instant gift opportunity.
#5 Any Day’s a Party with Readymade Occasion Kits
Don’t wait for a holiday or special occasion to inspire customers to purchase chocolate. Transform any day into a special event with chocolate occasion kits.
Here are some of our favorites:
Readymade S’mores Kits are a hit with customers any time of year (fun fact: s’mores are enjoying record sales according to Confectionery News.com). Curate your own collection of premium chocolate bars, fluffy marshmallows, and graham crackers. For a gift-worthy version, swap graham crackers with imported biscuits like shortbread or speculoos. Slip the ingredients into your own branded packaging and watch sales heat up.
In the age of Pinterest and amateur cooking competitions, everyone wants to get in on the DIY craze. Make it easy for customers to make their own chocolate creations at home with a Hand-Dipped Chocolate Kit. Offer melting chocolate along with popular dip-ins like pretzels, sandwich cookies, and marshmallows. Wrap up some sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and nuts for use as garnishes. Offer the option to purchase fresh strawberries or premium dried fruit slices for an additional add-on price.
Customers are looking for ways to up their entertaining game. Help them transform a get together into an event with a Chocolate-Tasting Party Kit. Customers will appreciate premium chocolates displayed on a pretty platter or cheese board. Include branded printed handouts with instructions for tasting chocolate (check our previous post on chocolate tasting here) and suggestions of different food and beverage pairings. If your business is specialty food, craft different size kits with all the trimmings: cheese, beverages, and alcohol that pair with each type of chocolate. You can dedicate a kit to pairings for one chocolate type, while also offering a premium kit with all represented.
Some favorite chocolate, food, and beverage pairings.
For everything you’ve ever wanted to know about selling and storing chocolate, check out