How to buy a chocolate shop
As we celebrate the Easter holidays…
As we celebrate Easter this weekend, most of the country’s children (and chocoholic grownups too) will be busily hunting down, then devouring, chocolate eggs. It’s peak time if you’re in the confectionary industry, and so it’s worth considering such seasonality if you’re thinking of buying a chocolate shop. This won’t be the time of year to take off on holiday, and neither will Christmas or Halloween!
If you’re thinking of buying a chocolate shop or a sweet shop, then you’ll be well aware of these seasonal boom times. Christmas and Easter will be the times of year that you are at your busiest. It’s fair to say that these peak holiday periods could make or break your business, so you’ll need plenty of stock, have planned your pre-season marketing and employed enough staff to handle those sales.
Easter egg hunts aside, though, chocolate is still a year round purchase. For some it’s an impulse buy and for others it’s a matter of indulgence. So, while you might be at your busiest at this time of year, if you get your proposition right, you can maintain trade throughout the year. To do so, though, you’ll have to be different from the rest.
For those of you thinking about buying a chocolate shop, you need to work out how you’ll buck the mainstream. Chocolate can be purchased so easily these days; from a supermarket, a garage forecourt or a vending machine and from any café, coffee shop or food outlet you can think of. With such a mass-produced and mass-consumed product, your business needs to stand out in as many ways possible. Luckily there are two key aspects you can focus on to achieve this.
The first way you can differentiate yourself is through the quality of your product. Customers are more discerning these days, and they recognise quality over quantity. Use the best ingredients, stick to handmade and under processed products and you will stand out. What’s more, you can charge more for quality products and maintain better margins too. The great news for anyone buying a chocolate shop today is that, over the past few years, there has been a real resurgence in artisan foods and food businesses.
While chocolate can’t really be referred to as a health food, there are certainly healthier forms of chocolate. If you can sell hand made products that aren’t processed, mass produced and stuffed full or additives and preservatives, you offer something that can command a premium. People don’t mind spending a little extra on something where the real value can be seen. Chocolate and sweets might not be seen as the rare indulgence they once were, but they are still a treat. And when a treat is pitched as a luxury product, it’s more likely to be bought as a gift rather than an impulse buy.
The second way to differentiate yourself from the mainstream is in the quality of your service. Like most independent retailers – whether it’s a bike shop, a butchers or your local record store – it’s the personal service and passion for what you are selling that brings in loyal customers. It’s what keeps them coming in too. So you need to know your product inside out. You need to be a chocoholic and a cocoa obsessive. You need to create or sell confectionary that separates you from the masses. Do so and you’ll have a chocolate shop that’s busy all year round.
If you’re thinking about buying a chocolate shop, then make sure you go through all of the due diligence required. It will ensure you make the right decision for you. It might also help you to read through more of our handy business guides here.