A Lesson From my Grocery Store

A Lesson from my Grocery Store

I went grocery shopping today at my neighborhood Fry’s Market and saw something that taught me a valuable lesson.

They already had their Valentine gifts for sale in the floral department — which was smart of them.  But it was one of those gifts (and they had lots and lots of this particular gift premade and ready to sell) that showed me what we as gift basket designers are missing out on.

A lot of you say that you don’t get much Valentine business.  But the grocery store does.  So do the florists.  One of the reasons, of course, is that they get these gifts prepared early and make them visible to customers who pass through while buying other things.  This is an advantage that we don’t have.  So we have to make a special effort to let our customers know how we can make them look so much better to that special someone, they are sending a gift to, than one of these ‘grab em and go’ grocery store gifts.

The gift itself was what caught my eye in this grocery store.  It was a candy bouquet that was selling for $19.95.  The gift was six candy bars on sticks stuck into a plastic vase filled with pink shred. The candy was sticking up like a whale jumping out of an ocean of cello puffs.  There was no design and they were (and this is my personal opinion) ugly.

Now, what can we learn from this one gift?  These six candy bars can be bought in bulk at Sam’s Club for 64 cents each for a total of 3.84.  I’m sure the grocery store gets even better prices.  The plastic vase was perhaps $1.  A little cello and a few cello puffs — I’ll be generous and say $1.00.  That’s a total cost of $5.84 for a gift that they are selling for $19.95.  Figure out that markup.  It’s a darn good one.

I know what I can create using these same products and I also know that it can be designed so that it is attractive and will tell the recipient that “I care about you!”

How about you?  Are you going to let the grocery stores beat you at your business with these kinds of gifts or are you going to create something that gives a WOW impression and market it to the hilt?

Shopping carts

I’ve received private messages and emails from several of you asking me what I think of Big Commerce as an e-commerce platform. For what it is worth, here is my opinion.

There are currently three major “all in one” hosting platforms competing for your business. They are Big Commerce, Shopify, and Volusion. There are other shopping carts that you can add to your own website. The first big problem with these “all in one” programs is that if you ever get disgusted with their services, they raise their prices (which Big Commerce recently did), or anything else, you are stuck — unless you want to totally begin over with a new shopping cart. Your shopping cart is tied into your hosting.

My own shopping cart is currently with a smaller “all in one” hosting company that I have been with since I began my business 23 years ago. It is precisionwebhosting.com. I, too, would lose my cart if I changed to another hosting company but I pay $19.95 per month and have paid that amount for the past 23 years. The company is large enough that it has almost 100% uptime and if there is ever a problem, I email them or fill out a support ticket which gets immediate attention. And amazingly, the reponse is oftentimes from Ken, the owner of precisionweb. Ken even worked with me (at no additional cost) to change my website from an html site to a wordpress site. They will build a whole website for you for around $500 if you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself. This is amazing support that only a smaller company that has been in business for years can provide. It’s just like the smaller but well-established gift basket businesses vs the big guys. This is not the only company like this. There are others.

The other major problem with these “all in one” platforms, such as Big Commerce is pricing. Big Commerce charges you a 1.5% transaction fee. Folks, that is 1.5% that you will pay to Big Commerce on every order that is placed through their shopping cart and is in addition to whatever fees your merchant account charges you. Shopify and Volusion do not charge these transaction fees. The reason that Big Commerce charges a transaction fee is so that they can pay their “partners” to build websites for you (read about their partners at https://www.bigcommerce.com/partners/ )

It’s really all about what you are looking for in a website and whether you want to be dependent on a company that has taken advantage of their customers in the past by increasing hosting rates, adding transaction fees, and being in full control of your business. Amazon webstore is another one. It used to cost about $30 a month but has increased its price to $79.95 and those who have these stores have no choice (other than starting over with another company) but to pay it.

If you have additional questions, as me. I looked at all of them to make sure that precisionweb was still my best choice so I am VERY familiar with each of them.


Follow Your Dream

So here we are again.  A new year with new opportunities and a chance to create new plans.

What will happen in the year 2015 with our opportunities and plans?

I was thinking recently that we never know when we’ll see our last new year come in, and much as we believe we’ll finish this one and reach all our goals and meet back here again next year at this time…

… one or the other might not happen.

I never make resolutions.  I learned long ago that they are here today, gone tomorrow.  But this year, I am making just one.  This year I resolve to act as if this is my last chance to make a difference, to build a legacy, to make a positive change in someone’s life.

My motto going forward is to Dream Big Dreams, Do Good Things and Inspire Others to do the same.

The year 2015 is still a blank canvas.  I have more to do.  Lots more and I have 364 days left to cover that blank canvas with bright and beautiful colors…

… or do I?

Only God knows but as of today, I have that chance, however long, however short.

So let’s get started.

There’s no time to waste.

Share with me in the comments below what your dream is for our industry and what you would like to see us do together to make it happen.I dream big concept