Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Tip #239: Get Pinning! Create a Pinterest Account for Your Business

As of today, there are 59 days until Black Friday. For many shoppers, Black Friday is the official, un-official kick-off to the holiday shopping season! "With 82 million searches for gifts on Pinterest and pinners spending twice as much as the general public, it’s time for you to make Pinterest a priority," says business2community.com.

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it is a social media platform that allows users to share and save content to virtual collections called “pinboards” or “boards.” A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that 31% of adult internet users are on Pinterest—which ranks the platform #3 behind social media giant, Facebook (79%) and just barely behind Instagram (32%).  The same study also reported “nearly half of online women use the virtual pinboard (45%), more than double the share of online men (17%) who do so.”

According to Pinterest for Business, it only takes 15 seconds to create an account. If you already have a personal account, Pinterest recommends converting it to a business account to take advantage of additional features like Pinterest Analytics and advertising. Click here for four simple steps to help you get started.

Once you’ve created your business account, consider creating a few holiday gift guides as boards to leverage Pinterest for your holiday marketing. By using existing product photos, this can be a relatively easy way to expand your reach of holiday shoppers. Don't forget to promote your gift guide on your website, social media sites, blog, in-store, etc.

Sweet Pete’s holiday-themed Pinterest board features 10 of their top-selling holiday gifts.

Group popular products together that make great holiday gifts or create guides based on fun themes that will help shoppers find the perfect gift from your candy shop. For example, if you carry an assortment of products that feature nuts, group them together in board titled “Gift Guide for Nut Lovers.” Even better, partner with a local nut roaster or even a local grocery store by featuring some of their products and perhaps they’ll return the favor by sharing your gift guide with their social media followers.

Gift guides can also focus on various price ranges. Depending on what makes the most sense for your business (don’t forget to consider shipping expenses), consider featuring a collection of items that fall into the “Under $25” range or the $50-$100 range.

For retailers looking to increase their holiday sales, Pinterest could represent an untapped potential for your business to reach new customers. See below for additional resources available to help you make the most out of your Pinterest account. Happy Pinning!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tip #238 Turn Caramel Apples Upside Down

If you love caramel apples, but you hate how apples don’t always set straight and level, then this super simple tip of the week is about to turn your world upside down, literally.

Instructors at RCI’s Caramels, Toffees & Brittles course, recommend turning apples upside down before inserting caramel apple sticks into the base of the apple.

Thanks to this tip, long-time RCI member, Fascia’s Chocolates of Waterbury, Connecticut, started flipping their apples after 53 years of practicing the traditional method of inserting sticks through the top of the apple, near the stem. Carmen Romeo, of Fascia’s Chocolates, says their apples now set more steadily and less caramel seems to gather on the bottom.

Try this tip yourself and let us know which method you prefer in the comments below.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tip #237: Celebrate El Dia de los Muertos

Merchandising is an important component to increasing sales. It is a way to grab your customers’ attention, stimulate emotions and give buyers a reason to make a purchase. This fall, take advantage of a traditional Hispanic holiday and the theme of the latest Disney movie, when adding to your merchandising displays.

El Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd, and is similar to Halloween with its themes of death and the spirit world. Not to be morbid or scary, instead this holiday is a fun, family-based celebration of life and death, a time to honor lost relatives with flowers, favorite foods and treats, even trinkets and toys.  In addition November 22, Disney releases its newest movie, Coco,  which takes place in this spirit world. Coco is the story of aspiring musician Miguel and his extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead.

For inspiration, here a few ways to incorporate Dia de los Muertos into your fall merchandising. 

Decorate a display with various bright colors including paper flowers, colorful banners and painted skulls.  Source: Party City

Source: Party City
As a play on the holiday’s sugar skulls, create sweets such as painted moulded skulls, decorate caramel apples and skull pops in their likeness.
Tomric Skull Mould

Caramel Apples from CraftyChica.com

Sugar Skulls Source: Oh! Nuts

Ideas for gift items source: smart-retailer.com

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tip #236: Join RCI in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico is the destination for Retail Confectioners International’s (RCI) Fall Regional Conference. If you’re a candy maker, chocolatier or industry supplier, keep reading for the top 4 reasons why you should join RCI in the “Land of Enchantment” October 4-6, 2017.

1. Experience the most photographed event in the world.
Extend your stay to experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta—the largest hot air balloon festival and the most photographed event in the world. Conference goers can take advantage of a special partnership between RCI and Tour New Mexico to receive a discount on general admission and avoid the congested traffic and parking conditions of an event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Visit retailconfectioners.org/balloonfiesta for more details.

2. Turn up the heat with the flavors of New Mexico.
Discover the distinctly local flavors of New Mexico, such as red and green chiles and piñon nuts, while touring innovative businesses who have distinguished themselves by utilizing these local ingredients to create unique products, during RCI’s popular behind-the-scenes tours. Long-time RCI member, Buffett’s Candies has developed a reputation for their use of piñon nuts, which is unique to the southwest region. Other tours will include the Buffett family’s Popcorn Cannery, where they manufacture over 20 flavors of popcorn. Attendees will also tour one of the largest coffee roasters in the state, New Mexico Piñon Coffee, praised for their sweet and nutty custom pinon-flavored blends. During tours, attendees will experience the production sides of these facilities in order to gain perspective and inspire new ideas to use in their own businesses.

3. Learn how to look at your business with fresh eyes.
Learn how a taking a different approach toward common business and industry concepts such as growth, leadership, communication, flavor development and sales can help you take your business to the next level in this thought-provoking lineup of education:

  • A Fresh Look at Growing a Business
  • Leadership: New Mexico Style
  • Learn the Language of Chocolate
  • Local Flavor: Truffle Demo
  • Optimizing Sales by Targeting Mobile

4. Watch authentic Flamenco come alive.
Experience the passion and energy of flamenco come alive during a private performance at Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque. Attendees will are sure to delight in the authentic Sevilla tapas served at this unique farewell reception Friday, October 6.

Although RCI has traveled to 35 states (plus Washington D.C.), 16 countries and four continents over the trade association’s lifetime, RCI  has never traveled to New Mexico. Making this a long-awaited destination for many members looking to gain inspiration from the state’s distinctive culture and heritage.

“You never know what will spark the next great idea. At RCI, we enjoy creating event experiences that encourage the generation of new ideas,” says Angie Burlison, RCI’s Executive Director. “We support many small-to-midsize businesses who can use flexibility to their advantage to implement such ideas as a means to standout in their communities, as well in the industry.”

Registration for RCI’s fall regional event is welcome to members and non-members online at retailconfectioners.org/fall. Additional event details such as schedule, registration and hotel information may also be found there.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.