Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tip #311: 5 Must-Try Fall Flavors…that don’t involve Pumpkin Spice



Rumor has it Starbucks will officially begin serving up their coveted Pumpkin Spice Lattes earlier than ever—August 27, if you’re curious. That’s only a week away! If you choose to go by the “more official” calendar date to mark the first day of fall, you’ve got until September 23 [insert sigh of relief here].

Regardless of when you choose to acknowledge the true arrival of fall, it won’t be long before it’s time to say “goodbye” to cool and refreshing flavors like watermelon and citrus, and “hello” to warm and cozy fall flavors like, well, pumpkin spice. Thanks to Starbucks, you can expect to find pumpkin spice in everything from coffees to cookies, candles to skin care, and, yes, even deodorant. Click here to check out some of RCI’s favorite pumpkin spice ideas.  

Even if you draw the line at trading in your favorite deodorant for the seasonal variety, there’s something comforting about fall flavors, but you don’t have to limit yourself to pumpkin. Keep reading for a list of equally craveable flavors to fall in love with this fall.

APPLES

Apple Pecan Caramel Bark, by Hilliard's Chocolates
Pumpkin may reign king of fall, but one might say the apple is queen. This certainly isn’t a surprise if you already make caramel apples, but you may consider different ways to incorporate the unofficial fruit of fall, by mimicking the flavors in apple cider or warm apple pie.

RCI member, Hilliard’s Chocolates, evokes all the fall feels with their Apple Pecan Caramel Bark. Presented at a past Candy Clinic, the bark combines white chocolate, cinnamon oil, dried apples, caramel and cinnamon sugar for a welcome fall treat. RCI members: Login at retailconfectioners.org/candyclinic to view past presentations like this one.

BROWN BUTTER

Land O'Lakes
Take your rich and buttery confections to the next level with brown butter, which is essentially a magical transformation that happens moments before it becomes burnt butter—naturally Martha Stewart has a solution for fixing burnt butter, click here for video. The nutty and complex flavor of brown butter will elevate any recipe. Check out this recipe for Browned Butter Salted Caramel Sauce by TheChunkyChef.com.

CHAI TEA
Real Simple
Quite possibly a distant relative to the pumpkin spice latte, chai tea is a strong-flavored tea with a hint of sweetness. Ginger and pepper add a kick of spice, which is evened out with earthy notes from cardamom and cloves, plus a dash of cinnamon. Why not try this Food Network recipe for Chai Chocolate Truffles, which Giada De Laurentiis compares to a “giant warm hug.”

DARK BEER
CraftBeer.com
Beer is a great addition to any caramel and brittle recipe, but if you’re already incorporating beer into your confections try experimenting with the darker beers of the season. Take note of seasonal beer varieties like porter and stout, which will soon replace the lighter ales of summer.

RCI member, Joy Lyn’s Candies partners with a local brewery to create a peanut brittle made with Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. Coined as “Beer Brittle,” this popular confection is made in small batches and offers a subtle hint of hops and malt.

PEARS
The Kitchen McCabe
If your customers love your caramel apples, get ready to knock their wooly socks off this fall with caramel-dipped pears. Experts agree pears that are not quite ripe with long stems for dipping are best--the most popular varieties being Bosc, Anjou, Comice and Seckel pears. Unlike apples, most pears (Seckel being an exception) don’t take well to having sticks inserted into them, which is why a sturdy stem is important. Check out this recipe for Caramel Dipped Pears from TheKitchenMcCabe.com.

It’s undeniable, the pumpkin spice trend isn’t going anywhere…at least until Starbucks launches their holiday-themed drink menu (enter: Peppermint Mocha), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other great fall flavors to peak shoppers’ interest. We want to know, what’s your favorite fall confection? Please share in the comments below.

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Throwback Tip #213: Freeze Chocolate Without Risking Bloom


The mention of freezing chocolate products not too long ago was looked upon by candy makers as taboo. The two main concerns were “the product will bloom” or “the taste will be lost.”

Today, with new freezing systems and a better understanding of how to freeze products, it has become commonplace in the industry. Some of the largest manufacturers freeze products to keep up with seasonal demands.

In this excerpt from a past RCI regional conference, RCI member Mike Koch, of Morely Candy Makers/ Sanders Candy, offers 4 simple steps for successfully freezing and thawing chocolate, plus maximum storage times for both filled pieces and solid chocolates.

Freezing:
1.     Prepare the product
·         Shrink wrap or wrap as tight as possible, making the package air tight.
·         Double shrink wrapping stock boxes is the best method if you use that type of packaging.
·         If you don’t have a shrink wrapper, a double layer of plastic wrap will work.

2.     Maintain a stable freezing and thawing process.
·         Most household or small commercial freezers can consistently maintain temperatures with short thaw cycles, if any.
·         Opening and closing freezers increases humidity in the units, thus the need for defrosting.
·         Larger operations should utilize freezers that have defrosting cycles.
·         Proper freezer drainage and regular maintenance is key to ensuring stability.
·         Evaluate defrosting time regularly. If this process takes too long, product packaging could get wet. If it is too short, the cost of freezing will increase due to the use of power. 

Thawing:
This may be the most important part of freezing.
1. Remove product from the freezer
·         When removed from the freezer, product should be stored at 60 degrees Farenheit, with limited humidity.
2. Create air movement around the thawing package
·         Smaller operations can remove a stock box from the freezer and place it on a counter with a small fan blowing on the package.
·         Larger operations can put a pallet on a rack with a fan blowing on one end.
·         Do not open the package or remove the wrap until the product temperature rises up to the room temperature.
·         When opened at room temperature, the product will look and taste the same as it did before freezing.

 For best results, thaw and sell frozen products within the recommended times below.
·         Filled pieces and truffles should be 3-4 months.
·         Solid chocolate pieces should be 6-8 months.

Freezing is not for everyone, but for the companies that do freeze and do it right, it is a major part of their planning and operations. You cannot cut corners or hurry this process. It is a way for smaller confectioners to purchase products and reach the minimum manufacturer requirement. It will increase your shelf life a few months and will not harm the products.

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tip #310: Extend the Shelf Life of Caramel


Caramels are one of the most popular candies, usually characterized by a smooth, chewy texture. In an excerpt for RCI’s Kettle Talk magazine, Randy Hofberger of R&D Candy Consultants shares how to avoid common problems like grainy texture or hardening that can develop as caramel ages.

1. CORN SYRUP SOLIDS>SUCROSE SOLIDS  
When formulating your caramel recipe, the most common rule of thumb is to use more corn syrup solids than sucrose solids. This should be on a solids basis, for example, you need at least 1.25 pounds of corn syrup in your formula for every pound of sugar (sucrose).
2. DISSOLVE SUGARS 
All of the sugars have to be dissolved before the completion of the cooking cycle or they will become nuclei or "seed" for graining to start. To have all of the sugar crystals dissolved, there has to be sufficient moisture in the formula—at least 20% moisture in your caramel premix to properly dissolve sugar crystals. One of the best ways to ensure a fully dissolved caramel premix is to heat it to 160˚F–180˚F while agitating and before starting the cooking process.
3. ADD SCRAP AT THE RIGHT TIME  
If reworking scrap caramel, it is best to add it to the premix at the beginning of the cook cycle with sufficient moisture (remember the 20% moisture premix rule). If you have fresh scrap that is free of grain, this can be added at any time of the cooking process.
4. ADD MILK BEFORE COOK CYCLE IS COMPLETE  
Different caramels procedures and recipes may require you to add milk during the cooking cycle. Make sure all of the milk is added before the end of the cooking process. Adding milk after the cook cycle may not allow the lactose in the milk to dissolve and this will promote caramel graining.
5. WASH SIDES OF KETTLE  
If you have a gas-fired cooking kettle, you will want to wash down the sides of the kettle after a full rolling boil has been established. This is essential to, once again, dissolve any sugar crystals that may be on the sides on the kettle. Also make sure that the boiling level of the caramel is above the scrapers or sugar crystallization will occur.
6. AVOID EXCESSIVE AGITATION  
After the cooking procedure is finished, stop the agitators in the cook kettle. Continuous agitation or excessive handling of the caramel will cause it to grain.
7. MANAGE MOISTURE  
Hardened caramels are a common texture concern, which can happen when the product loses moisture. Ways to manage moisture and maintain shelf life include; adding humectants, coating the caramel in chocolate and using good, sealed barrier packaging.
8. COLDER STORAGE  
As a general rule, lowering storage temperature by 18ยบ F will double shelf life of caramel.
9. USE CHOCOLATE AS A MOISTURE BARRIER  
Caramel hardening and moisture migration can occur when a drier inclusion comes in contact with a higher moisture caramel. Adding crisped rice or pretzels to the caramel will eventually cause these inclusions to get soggy and the caramel to become hard. A simple solution, if your operation permits, is to put the dry inclusion, such as crisped rice, in the chocolate that enrobes the caramel center. Chocolate acts as a moisture barrier to keep the crisped rice crunchy and the caramel soft. Putting a chocolate or specialty fat layer between caramel and a cookie base will, likewise, help keep the two components with their original texture.
Great caramels require great effort. With these tips, you can ensure your caramels stay great and your efforts aren't wasted.

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tip #309: Understand the Fundamentals of an Effective Traceability System


Take action to protect your business against the threat of a product recall by better understanding the fundamentals of an effective traceability system from Dean Hornsby of Redimark. This article was originally published in RCI's Kettle Talk magazine.

In 2018, a total of 382 food product recalls were registered between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS). What were the leading reasons for the recalls? Undeclared allergens accounted for 160 recall cases; milk, tree nuts, eggs, peanuts, soy and wheat representing the largest offenders. (foodsafetymagazine.com)

If you produce confectionery products, you are most likely sourcing ingredients from multiple suppliers that are derived from local and even international sources. You rely on your suppliers to keep track of these ingredients and provide the documentation for batch or lot identification. You would expect your suppliers to notify you if they had a quality or safety recall, but what about you? Would you know what products of yours would fall under that same product recall?

THE IMPORTANCE OF TRACEABILITY
An effective product traceability system involves the use of tracking and tracing systems and processes to record the movement of incoming goods to outgoing product. Whatever system you use, it is important to capture the data of incoming ingredients quickly and accurately. The packaged products that you produce and ship need to be identified all the way back to the batches of ingredients used.
  • Once product is outside of your four walls, what now?
  • Did you track where the product lot was shipped to?
  • What about your customers or consumers?
  • Would they be able to identify the offending batch of product?

This is the importance of product coding and identification.

Above: Key areas of consideration for a traceability system
HOW TO TRACK PRODUCTS
Not only should your product traceability system capture the data of incoming goods to outgoing shipments, it needs to index all production activities to a unique batch lot number such as a kettle or oven number, mixer, packaging line, etc. This primary-level batch lot number is the license plate that travels with the product all the way to the customer and consumer. If a supplier notifies you of an ingredient safety issue, your traceability system should support a “where-used” function that allows you to enter the secondary-level batch numbers of the ingredients used and all parent level batch numbers should show as a result. The same holds true for the production process activities. Should a metal mixing blade break, all batches produced from the last inspection date of the mixing blade up until the new inspection that found the failure must be identified.

CODING REQUIREMENTS
The primary-level batch code must be visible on your product packaging. It should not be printed on parts of the packaging that can be discarded such as a tear-away opening or throwaway cap. It should be printed onto the permanent section of the packaging so that a consumer can locate the code for identification. Printing of the batch code can be performed by many different technologies. Inkjet coders offer the most flexible way to date and batch code products by jetting the ink drops that form printed characters onto the product as it travels down a product conveyor or through a flow wrapper. Labels can be printed inline using a print-and-apply system, or offline in batches that are hand-applied onto the product. Thermal Transfer Over printers (TTO) print directly onto the film in the flow wrapping process—Label and TTO technologies use wax ribbons for printing onto the label or plastic packaging substrate.

More expensive coders, like lasers, can be used to vaporize the package’s pre-printed ink surface to reveal contrasting date codes with the natural packaging material color underneath.

FSMA’S IMPACT ON TRACEABILITY
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) impacts small manufacturers (fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees) as of September 18, 2017 and very small businesses (less than $1,000,000 in sales) on September 17, 2018.

The FSMA is a law that enforces preventative control measures and enables the FDA to perform unscheduled inspections and force product recalls instead of issuing voluntary recalls. The law can even allow the FDA to force closure of production operations should improper preventative control measures be found regarding food safety.

An effective product traceability system delivers what your business needs to protect brand image, provide consumer trust, and meet your product quality and safety goals.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TRACEABILITY Register now to join RCI for Regional Conference in Nashville August 19-21, 2019. Dr. Bob Strong, with SAI Global Assurance, will lead education on the importance of traceability. Understand traceability and requirements for businesses of all sizes, as well as consequences facing both your business and public health, if not done properly. Register today!

Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tip #308: Create Instagram-Worthy Back-To-School Gifts



Put the “COOL” in back-to-school with Instagram-worthy gifts both for students and their teachers! Here we’ve compiled some of our favorite smart treats pulled from past blog posts that are sure to earn your candy shop an A+.
Charlie's Chocolate Factory
tip #141: apple for the teacher
If they haven’t done so already, you can bet many parents in your community will be scouring social media (especially Pinterest) for the perfect gift to celebrate their students and sweeten up teachers as a new school year approaches.
Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Vancouver, British Columbia used a standard apple box mould and adapted it to feature a clever hole for a gummy worm to pop out. 
Chocolate-covered Oreo Apple Pops are an equally fun idea for a sweet school treat. In this example, a standard circle mould was used to create a thicker layer of colored confectionery coating, a pretzel was used to create the stem as well as modeling chocolate for the leaves. Other tutorials utilize fresh mint leaves for a more realistic look.
Dietsch Brothers
tip #275: GIFTS THAT RULE
Take notes from RCI member, Dietsch Brothers, who creates custom tags and labels throughout the year to help theme their products as a way to encourage sales. Transform a basic chocolate bar into a thoughtful teacher gift by creating a custom wrapper that looks like a ruler and reads, “thanks for making this year rule!” Or add tags to your boxed chocolates and moulded chocolates that say “To the sweetest teacher.”
IDEA: HOST A FAVORITE TEACHER CONTEST
With World Teacher’s Day on October 5, make plans now to host a favorite teacher contest in September. It’s a fun avenue to recognize the great teachers in your area and also capture new customers before e the busy holiday season!
First, create a beautiful gift basket that will go to the winning teacher and have it on display in your store. For the contest, invite your customers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. to nominate their favorite teacher and include the reason they have nominated him or her. To increase excitement for the contest, you could also give a box of your chocolates or smaller gift basket to the nominator of the winning teacher.
Add excitement to the contest by spreading the word through press releases, radio spots, school newsletters, etc. Everyone will also want to know who wins so be sure to get a photo of the winner with his or her nominator and post it on social media and in your store.
Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Throwback Tip #201: Take Merchandising to New Heights with Truffle Tree



A Truffle Tree is a stylish way for your customers to serve truffles to a large group, in addition to an eye-catching merchandising display for your retail shop. It is a big-ticket item that can add nice revenue to your store’s sales. With a little advance planning, building the tree can be relatively easy to execute.

Here you will find a list of materials needed and step-by-step instructions for creating this showpiece as provided by RCI member, Annedore's Fine Chocolates. RCI members: Click here to log on to RCI’s member site and view three variations of ganache recipes on page 9 of 2014’s 3rd quarter issue of Kettle Talk.

For ease of construction, undipped ganache balls may be stored in the freezer. Simply follow the instructions below for thawing and dipping the ganache balls and you are ready to build a tree on demand.

MATERIALS NEEDED:
  • Truffles (see recipes below)
  • Silicone mats
  • Plastic wrap
  • Foam block
  • Parchment paper or aluminum foil (optional)
  • Round toothpicks
  • Tempered chocolate
  • Foam cone
  • Wrapping paper or fabric (preferably coordinating with the color of your truffles)
  • Flathead pins
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or tree topper (optional)

    STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS:


    1. Prepare truffle centers using your own ganache recipe or see recipes below. Pipe ganache onto silicone mats. Cover the mats with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. Transfer mats to the freezer for 12 hours. Remove mats from the freezer and pop out ganache balls (Note: Balls may be returned to the freezer for future use). Cover balls with plastic wrap and allow them to come to room temperature.
    2. Cover a foam block with parchment paper or aluminum foil, so it can be reused. Glue a toothpick into each ganache ball by, first, dipping one end of the toothpick into tempered chocolate and then inserting that end into the center of the flat side of the ganache ball. Allow toothpick to set up firmly in the ganache ball. 
    3. Once the toothpick is firmly set in the ganache ball you are ready to dip each ganache ball in tempered chocolate. Dip each ball carefully and then insert tooth-picked end of the ball into the block of foam. This will allow for perfect-looking, uniform truffles to create your truffle tree. Allow chocolate to set up. Truffles may be decorated while standing in the block of foam. 
    4. Before you begin to build your tree, first, wrap the foam cone completely with wrapping paper or fabric – secure with flathead pins, as needed.
    5. Beginning at the bottom of the cone, push the tooth-picked truffles into the cone working your way around the cone to create the first row. On the second row, stagger the truffles by placing them in the open spaces created by the first row. Carefully work your way up the cone row by row until the entire cone is covered in truffles. Toothpicks may need to be cut as you reach the top of the cone. 
    6. Crown the top of your tree by inserting a tooth-picked truffle vertically on the top of the cone. Experiment with different tree toppers, such as a large bow or a chocolate initial or number (birthday idea). Use your imagination.  

    Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2019

    Tip #307: Get Glossy Colored Chocolates Every Time



    Just like chocolate, colored cocoa butter must be properly tempered. Otherwise, poorly tempered cocoa butter will stick to chocolate moulds and appear dull or foggy. Keep reading for pro tips for applying colored cocoa butter to your chocolate confections and ensuring bright colors and a perfect glossy finish.

    Colored cocoa butter should be tempered in the same way chocolate is tempered. RCI member, Brian Donaghy with Tomric Systems, Inc., says although colored cocoa butter usually arrives tempered, it is important to heat it slowly and then hold the cocoa butter in a 90 environment. Brian recommends using a yogurt maker to retain the temperature over time and help ensure the cocoa butter doesn't lose temper.

    As shared by Tomric Systems, Inc. during RCI’s Chocolate Boot Camp, there are many uses for colored cocoa butters. Two of the more popular techniques included hand application and airbrushing colors.

    HAND APPLICATION
    Hand application works well when a textured, mixed color is the desired look. It allows you to mix the colors directly in the mould cavity to achieve a rich, “painterly” appearance.

    How to apply Colored Cocoa Butters by hand:
    1. Warm colored cocoa butter to approximately 92˚F. or until in a liquid state.
    2. Place desired colors in small plastic cups.
    3. Wearing gloves, dip finger into colors. (shown)
    4. Swipe inside of mould with finger to apply color (shown). Set aside and cool.
    5. When colored cocoa butter is nearly completely crystallized, create shells using tempered chocolate.

    Hint: Layer colors to achieve “painterly” effect, or combine with airbrushing technique for an interesting contrast.

    AIRBRUSHING COLORS
    Successful airbrushing techniques require special attention to temperature at which you spray; different temperatures will allow you to achieve different effects.

    How to airbrush Colored Cocoa Butters:
    1. Warm colored cocoa butter to approximately 92˚F.
    2. Use airbrush to lightly spray color on inside of mould cavity (shown).
    3. Set aside and cool.
    4. When colored cocoa butter is nearly completely crystallized, create shells using tempered chocolate.

    Hint: Colored cocoa butter can also be applied after the moulded piece is complete. When applied on a chilled piece, the colored cocoa butter will take on a soft, fuzzy appearance. Ideal for display pieces, this technique is not recommended for pieces intended for eating, as the colors can easily smudge.

    When used properly, colored cocoa butters can transform chocolate confections into incredible works of art. Like chocolate, there are a myriad of factors that can negatively affect cocoa butter at any given point. If you run into problems, click here to check out our post “How Not To Ruin Chocolate,” for a quick-reference troubleshooting guide to pinpoint common problems and make corrections.

    Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2019

    Tip #306: Optimize Your E-Commerce Experience




    Looking for answers to these questions? Keep reading as RCI member, Theresa Packard with CommerceV3, offers answers and actionable strategies to start implementing in your business immediately.
    HOW DO I BEST OPTIMIZE MY WEBSITE?
    Optimizing your site should be done based on site metrics and usability, as well as site speed. I'll address how to analyze your site metrics and usability with regards to conversion, but for now, let's cover the bases of site speed.
    If your site is not operating at an optimum speed, it may appear to be missing a few pieces to the puzzle. Measuring the site speed on your homepage and top category pages will allow to see if there are images or other code that could be significantly slowing your site.
    Many site speed tools such as Google Page Speed Insights, WebPageTest and Pingdom, are free. A site is considered slow if it takes longer than three seconds to load. After running the site speed tools, you may find the top culprits that can affect website speed are often large images that need optimized, script that can be loaded at the bottom of the page versus the top of the page, and additional redirects on the page.
    INCREASING CONVERSION RATES
    This is the million-dollar question— how to convert browsers into purchasers? When consulting clients, I have found the best place to start is to ask a series of questions. The following questions can help you identify any barriers that may be affecting your conversion rate.
    What do your analytics tell you?
    The first thing I tell all retailers is to take a look at their analytics (we use Google analytics) to see if there are parts of your site that show the best conversion and parts that show the worst. How do you get more out of the things that show high conversion and high dollars? What’s wrong with the worst parts? Is there something on that landing page acting as a barrier?
    Are your customers getting lost?
    Are there places on your site where customers may be getting lost? Do they have to think about their journey through your site or is it intuitive? If you have a customer service agent, this may be a good person to ask, since they’re likely the one fielding questions about how to navigate your site. If not, try asking a loyal customer about their experience on your site.

    Can customers easily find the products they want through search and navigation?
    When a customer reaches the product page, how easy is it for them to see the pricing, count or size and, then, add their products to the cart? A shortage of important details like these is a common pitfall, that can quickly turn potential customers away.
    Are there product reviews on your site?
    Many online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on other customers’ reviews. Be sure your website has a user-friendly reviews program.
    Have you tried to checkout on your own site?
    When moving through the shopping cart to checkout, how easy is it for a customer to proceed through each step? We suggest making clear, well-defined steps through checkout. Make sure customers can easily enter shipping and billing information and also have certain already-known fields pre-entered (such as their email address and shipping information when logged in). To help with ease of checkout, offer alternative payment methods like PayPal, Amazon, Apple Wallet, Visa Checkout and etc.— these are especially useful for individuals shopping on mobile devices.
    There's a lot you can do to optimize your website and improve your conversion rates, sometimes the best way to identify hang ups is by test driving your site on a regular basis.

    Crave more? If you like what you read here, look for the "Subscribe now" box on the right to enter your email address and start receiving weekly tips, like this, delivered straight to your email inbox. RCI's Tip of the Week blog is just one of the many resources we offer to help candy makers refine their craft and build upon their business and marketing practices.