Gourmet Holiday Gifts:  All that Glitters is not Gold

Gourmet Holiday Gifts: All that Glitters is not Gold

by Kim Peacock, President/Founder

When William Shakespeare said “All that Glitters is not Gold,” he wasn’t talking about buying holiday gifts, but he could have been.

If you’ve ever received a gourmet gift of nuts or candy, all beautifully boxed up with bows, opened the boxes to see bags that when poured into the boxes only filled half of the box, you probably felt cheated.

Maybe you’ve given a personal or business gift, and this is what your gift recipient experienced?  Lots of times we’re not there to see our gift being opened.  And the recipient certainly won’t send you a thank you note saying, “Thanks for the half-full box.”

The gourmet gift may have dazzled you on the retail shelf or in the photo online, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to pull its weight with your clients or friends. I call these “cheat gifts.”

How and why does this happen and how can you make sure it doesn’t happen to you?

I’ve been retailing and selling to retailers for more than 25 years, so I understand the retailer’s position.  People are not buying the way they used to.  Stagnating incomes coupled with cost of living increases mean that consumers are spending less.  Therefore, competition is fierce to capture dwindling expendable income dollars that retailers rely on.  Retailers know they have to dazzle you by offering something that you think gives you the biggest bang for the buck.

One trick that certain online retailers are well-known for is photographing a tin of goodies next to what looks like a pine tree branch.  But then, when you receive it, you realize that the pine tree branch was really a mere twig.

Americans generally don’t know weights, and if I weren’t in this business, neither would I.  We tend to size things up visually.How much space it takes up.Thus, great big boxes piled to the heavens at your magic price point is going to look like the deal of the century.

So, that’s why it happens, but how can you keep it from happening to you?

You are just going to have to buy one and open it yourself.  You need to taste the product, make sure it’s fresh, and of suitable quality.If it will be shipped to your recipient, have it shipped to yourself, so you can make sure it arrived in good condition.  Ask yourself, is this what was presented to me in the photo?  Is this what I thought it was going to be?

Lots of photography on the web shows product piled high in such a way that there’s no way a lid could fit on there.  I have a pet peeve against “cheat gifts” and on my own website, GreatNuts.com, I insist that gifts look exactly the way they are going to look when the customer opens them.  If it’s a tin three part assortment of nuts and chocolates, for example, I ask my production crew to pack it as if it’s going to be shipped.When I take it to be photographed, I remove the tin lid and the tin pad and have it photographed exactly as is.

Look for gifts that keep earning their keep, even after you remove the packaging.Here’s an example of a client gift that has no dazzle, but is pure gold.  For 25 years, it continues to be our most popular business gift.  It’s really functional, but the cost of this gift definitely isn’t in the packaging, even though it is frequently re-used and, therefore, can be considered value-added.  Its value is in the contents and the fact that it’s as full as we can get it and still get the lid on.  It measures 18 inches across, so its visual space is impressive.

When I ask my customers why they continue to buy it, they always say, “It’s big enough to share with the whole office for several days, and my customers expect one every year.”

Over the years, I’ve seen some customers switch from Holiday gifts to Thanksgiving or New Year’s gifts, so they don’t get lost in the holiday shuffle.  But, they always revert back to gifting in December.

Even though the holidays seem to sneak up on everyone, try to place your order in early to mid-November.  The way we produce for our wholesale business is completely different than the way we produce for holiday gifts on GreatNuts.com.  We know that if we over-produce, there is no way we are going to sell it in January.  We produce just enough to get us through until December 23rd with the idea that if we have to be “sold out”, that’s better than writing off unsold merchandise.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll find something that doesn’t disappoint the very people you want to impress.

17th Oct 2014 Kim Peacock

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