Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tip #117: Post Photos on Facebook

Are you looking to get your customers and fans more engaged on Facebook?
According to this infographic from Kissmetrics, a blog focused on marketing analytics, photos get 53% more Likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs than posts that include just text or links. That is a huge difference!
Ideas for posting pictures include:
·     Production– let them feel like they’re behind-the-scenes of a candy store
·     Product– remind fans how beautiful and delicious your chocolates and candies are and they may meet a temptation they just can’t resist
·     Promotions – create great images highlighting promotions and sales happening in your store
·     People – make it personal by posting photos of your staff and customers
This is just another great reason for investing in quality photos just like we mentioned in Tip # 67!

**If you’ve visited RCI’s Facebook page, you know that we love to post photos from RCI events and education courses. Check out photos from last year’s Annual Convention & Industry Expo and then visit retailconfectioners.org/annual to get registered for the 2014 Annual Convention & Industry Expo in St. Louis this June. The expo is FREE to confectionery industry professionals and full registration for the convention covers education sessions, some meals, networking receptions, behind-the-scenes tours and an awards banquet. It’s a week you don’t want to miss!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tip #116: Implement Quarterly Employee Check-ins

We’ve all heard of the annual employee performance review. You may even currently implement one in your own candy company. This week’s tip, though, is to move past only meeting with your employees to review their performance annually and instead check in with them on a quarterly basis.
It’s been said about annual performance reviews that if there is anything within the review that surprises the employee then it’s the fault of the manager for not communicating throughout the year. Therefore, how are you doing at communicating your level of satisfaction with your employees’ performance throughout the year? This week’s tip will help with that!
Rather than having a quarterly review, consider a more light-hearted or casual meeting where you check in with the employee. Consider using this time to review the goals you laid out together for the employee at the past annual review. In addition to providing your feedback, this is a great time to ask open-ended questions of the employee and provide an opportunity to provide feedback on his or her level of job satisfaction.
By checking in with employees throughout the year, you are keeping the lines of communication open which has been shown to increase employee satisfaction. And happy employees means happy customers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tip #115: Keep Samples of Your Product on Hand

This week’s tip will help keep you on track for quality control. Take a sample of every product, label appropriately (lot code, date, etc.) and freeze it for a set amount of time. Then, if a customer calls and complains for any reason about your products, you have a frame of reference to be able to say this is the condition the product was in when it left our facility.
One RCI member does this and has a ziplock bag for each day. The company keeps the product for four months and then discards it. Regardless of how long you choose to keep the product, be sure that you have a system for organizing it within your freezer so that you can easily find the items and then also easily discard of them when the time period for keeping them has passed.
P.S. This week’s tip is from our Chocolate Boot Camp education course. Learn more about education courses offered by Retail Confectioners International at www.retailconfectioners.org/events.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tip #114: Promote Wedding Favors In Your Store

Rheo Thompson Candies (Taken at RCI 2012 Fall Regional)
Wedding season is just a few months away which is what brought this week’s tip to mind. If you offer wedding or party favors, create a space in your store to let customers know!
By having a small display in your store of the types of favors available as well as the unique ways they can be packaged, you can easily showcase your offerings and potentially bring in additional revenue year-round by providing favors at events of all kinds.
You could even take it one step further and providing a pricing sheet. Some RCI members have a ‘menu’ of items that customers can take with them that lists what’s available as well as the prices associated with each item. Be sure to offer customized options as well – you never know what creative idea may spark a new product or offering you could add to your menu!