The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Hi Everybody!

 

Last week I pulled the trigger, bought out another chocolatier, and in typical "Insane Brad" fashion gave myself 7 days to turn their business around, renovate, and rebrand it as mine (I did it and video taped each day's progress for sharing at a later date).  At the same time I decided to give my company's website a complete facelift - adding one more color to our standard blue and brown.

 

I would be interested in your opinion of the new look - good bad or ugly.  For those of you who have been to my previous site, you'll probably see a lot more content as well.

 

I await your criticisms and accolades with baited breath....

 

Thanks in advance (I think).

Oh... Here's the site:  www.SoChoklat.com

 

Brad

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The site looks good, clean and simple.  Good luck as you grow and I really appreciate all your comments. 

Brad:

I did a little math on your truffle flavor options. Looks like:

17 different flavors for the centers
2 different chocolate options
23 different options for toppings (including nothing)

That's 782 different combination (17x2x23), far fewer than the 1,100 number you mention on your site. If I add in all the other items (café, gifts, bars) I don't make it past 810 items.

That's still a lot - but unless I am missing something, it's far short of the combinations on offer.

There are things my shop offers which aren't currently on the menu and are available only at certain times of the year.  There are also items that I personally make and offer to people.  Those items are also not on the public menu.  We're actually closer to 1175 options.

Brad -

I think that's more than a little disingenuous. Customers don't really care about the total universe of recipes you have, they care about what they can buy today. They don't care if you used to make it, or are going to make it, or if it's a special treat that you make and offer up according to some schedule only you know.

They want to know what they can buy today. As near as I can tell, that's about 800 items. It's still a lot, but it's not 1175 (or even 1000). So why not be straight and up front about it?

Why not tell people that at any given time there are more than 799 (to pick a random number) combinations from a menu that numbers over 1150 - it's still way more than almost anyone else offers.

Anything else is less than 100% honest, IMO.

Hi Brad,

I had actually looked at your old website a few months ago, and have looked at the new one now. The colour scheme is nice and appealing to females- and surely we must account for more than 50% of chocolate purchasing decisions....

I agree that more descriptions of the fillings would be good- in fact some of the best content on the site is hidden in the PDFs- particularly the menu pdf where it describes each blend of chocolate- if you could bring some of the product descriptions and lists up to the main part of the site in my view it would add more interest and make it more engaging.

Also have to agree that putting a "Buy Now" button on the home page without full online ordering functionality is a bit confusing & disappointing....- if you are not planning to offer online fulfillment/shipping- the button might be better as "Click and Collect" or something like that....

Anyway, that is my 2c.

regards, philippa

Philippa;

Thanks for the contribution.  I'm a bit confused about your comment with re: the "buy now" button.  We Do take orders over the 'net, in fact several every day.  We just don't deliver, or ship outside of Calgary.  If you click the "I Promise" button, it launches a window which allows you to customize your truffle order.

 

Maybe you missed that?  Maybe others did too??

Y is it that you do not ship outside Calgary agn?

That's right.  We have a large contingent of regular customers who make use of our online ordering system to place orders for custom truffles, and then come into our shop and pick them up. 

Further to that, our ordering screen looks like a tabbed Windows dialogue box.  Most of our orders come from corporate admin assistants who are familiar with the Windows Operating system, and find the tab "look" very easy to use.  Yes, it looks "ugly" as one person commented. However it's meant to be functional, and who am I to tell Microsoft that they don't know how to design a user interface to be functional?  I'll make it look just like the 90% of computers out there, so that 90% of my customers can easily place their orders.

 

It's important to remember that Choklat doesn't operate like every other chocolatier. Each of our confections are made specifically to order, and not made in advance then set out on display.  For those who don't wish to wait 10 minutes or so for their truffles to be made, they can order from the convenience of their computer, and then have the order waiting for them when they stop in.   

 

Our online ordering system has been a very popular convenience for many people - especially around holiday times when we often have large line ups.  They go online when it's convenient, and book their order for the date they way, and then skip the line on the date they've chosen, pick up their product and are on their way.

 

From a planning perspective, it's fabulous for our staff, because they can see what's coming down the pipe, and prepare all of tomorrow's online orders before the end of business today.  Sometimes there are as many as 40-50 orders pre-booked for a specific day such as Valentines day.

 

With 3 locations now, the ordering screen is going to change and allow the customer the ability to choose where they would like to pick up their order.  Once placed, the order will be queued up for that specific location on the day chosen by the customer.

 

 

I don't need to go through the hassle of packaging, couriers, shipping costs, melted chocolate and other BS.  In the Calgary area alone there are almost 1.5 million people - more than ample market for several Choklat stores.  ( currently have 3)  Only when I've tapped into every area of the city, and every Calgarian knows about my business, and I'm sitting there asking myself how I can get more product on the streets, will I even begin to consider shipping.   

Hi Brad,

Not to pile on here but, I agree with just about all of the bad things that were said in the other reply's, but I also have never seen the the word cacau before I've always seen it spelled cacao, when I Googled it,  mostly all that came up was a Brazilian soccer/football star named Cacau. I may be wrong but I just thought you should check.

Best of luck with the new business.

Chris

Chris;

 

Thanks for taking the time to check things out and weigh in.

 

Cheers

Brad

Hi Brad,

I just checked out your site.  I appreciate the work you put into it, it is a lot of hard work for sure!  The fact that you have asked for opinions means that you do care what others think.  For me, I think its a nice mellow looking site but it does not reflect the wording of what you have written.  I personally think it needs a Wow factor.  In saying so, I am asking myself if mine has any wow factor to it.  I agree that it needs more pictures of your work and past works.  Perhaps even pictures of you making the chocolate from the bean.  A couple things stand out for me in reading about you and how you are portraying yourself and the Chocolate industry to the public.  A Chocolatier and a Chocolate maker are two very distinct roles and two very important roles.  Without either one, the other is lacking.  There is a saying from my childhood where I grew up in Alberta (I'm no spring chicken haha), I was told that it is very important to learn one thing really really well and from there all things will branch out.  Also, all the chocolatiers and chocolate makers I have met so far have a humility and a team spirit. If we trust each other, we can work togethor to create a product/s that is not only delicious but has the expertise of fine ingredients, integrity, the passion, the skill and the team spirit all built into it. You mentioned about someone elses chocolate just being melted down.  What about the other ingredients? Are all those made from yourself as well.  I would just caution on how things are worded and what is being portrayed.  It could be the way I read it but it feels like you put down the competition and other chocolatiers in general to make yourself seem better.  This is how a lot of politicians are now and I don't want to know how bad others are, I want to know your passion, your expertise, your love of what you are doing and your story of how chocolate makes you feel not from a negative standpoint but what is positive about your experience.  Add a little bit of how much you are loving your life now because your curiosity of how chocolate is made caused you to want to make it yourself.  I like your Logo and I love the fact that you were brave enough to ask for opinions.  It does sound like you want your customers to be happy and its great that word of mouth is getting you business.  If you dress up the website just a little more with a few of the suggestions, I'm sure more will be drawn to you. Shipping is a bit of a pain in Canada so I don't blame you for not wanting to but it sure would bring more sales.  However, like you said, its not what you are looking for.  I am learning a lot from this whole discussion and am always tweaking my own website. This will help for sure!  Good luck with everything! If I'm back in Alberta at some point, I will stop in and say hi!

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