Top Ten Tips for Chocolate Retailers

Owning a chocolate shop is a dream for many people, but selling chocolate isn’t always easy. It’s a super competitive market and – for craft chocolate in particular – there’s a lot of education needed to convince customers about quality and value. Whether you’re selling in person or online, these top 10 tips will help enhance your business, increase sales, and grow a loyal customer base…

Curate a beautiful selection

The best chocolate doesn’t always have the best wrapper, but the most popular chocolate usually does. Most people buy with their eyes, especially if looking for a gift, so it’s important to stock a carefully curated selection of beautifully designed bars that jump off the shelf (not literally, although that would be cool.)

Ensure you and your staff are highly knowledgeable 

When people come to a specialist chocolate retailer, they’re usually looking for advice from knowledgeable and experienced chocolate lovers. Learn as much as you can about your products: the way they taste, the ingredients they’re made from, the people who make them, how and where they’re created. You and your staff should learn and taste as much as possible.  

Tell an engaging story

Better quality, flavour and ethics are what separates great craft chocolate from the mainstream, but the easiest way to hook a customer is with a good story. Tell them about the amazing history behind the bean variety, or the lives of the farmers. Share your personal experiences with the chocolate maker, or how the idea for the chocolate bar came about. You want to help customers connect with the people and history behind the product. 

Offer tastings

There’s no quicker way to a customer’s heart than via their taste buds. It’s essential to offer samples of chocolate in-store, along with explanations of how to taste properly. You might even have some cheap chocolate to try alongside the good stuff, so that people can taste the difference.

A big challenge for online craft chocolate retailers is not being able to offer samples. They need to compensate for this by using incredible images, effective words, customer reviews, and various other elements that enhance the online shopping experience.

Host events

Tasting events are a fantastic way to reach new audiences and develop deeper relationships with customers. You might only have five or ten minutes with a customer in-store, but at an event you have two or three hours to entertain and educate. Consider hosting collaborative tasting events with local companies, such as breweries, coffee roasters or cheese makers. They can be a lot of fun and will attract a new audience to your shop.

Offer personalised gifting options

Many people still struggle with the cost of craft chocolate for personal consumption, but it’s much less of a barrier for gifts. Whether selling in-store or online, make sure you offer beautiful gift options that are easy to personalise. Hand-written notes are highly desirable, along with great presentation and quick delivery options. 

Share staff suggestions

Customers can be overwhelmed by a huge selection of chocolate, so it’s a good idea to point them in a particular direction. A great way to do this is by displaying ‘staff picks’, and asking staff to write a little review. This is also a great way for customers to get to know your team.

Focus on the positives

Whether in person, on your website, or on social media, it’s best to avoid saying negative things about other chocolate companies. Even if you know a particular chocolate is low quality with poor flavour, your potential customers might have a deep attachment to that brand. People don’t usually respond well to being told they’ve got it wrong, so rather than be disparaging, simply focus on what’s amazing about the brand you sell. Everyone loves good news.


Rotate your offerings

We live in a world of infinite choices and variety. Whilst some customers like to find a favourite bar and stick with it, many craft chocolate fans like to taste new bars every time. It’s important to keep rotating your selection to make sure your shelves are always fresh and exciting.  

Offer a loyalty scheme

It’s well-proven that loyalty schemes increase customer return rates. We highly recommend offering an in-store stamp card (eg. ‘buy ten bars get one free’) or an online points scheme. This doesn’t just make a customer more likely to return, it also helps them feel like part of your community.

We hope you find these tips useful. If you ever have any questions or need chocolate advice, feel free to get in touch –  

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