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Get it Together With Gift Baskets

by Anna Ludwinowski, Essential Packaging
 As published in  CRAFTLINK Newsletter


Merchandising your products with gift baskets can be an excellent way to increase your product sales, add value to the products, while at the same time providing a solution for hour customer.  

During the holiday seasons your customer is often stressed, in a hurry and while they may like your product -- purchasing it may create more work.  How will they carry it without damaging the product? How will they wrap it for gift giving? Creating a unique gift basket can make a purchase decision much easier.  Many people don't have time to put a gift basket together themselves and they don't mind paying extra for the convenience.  

While the customer may like the product, the price point or the size of the doesn't really make it seem substantial enough for it to be considered an appropriate gift.  By grouping several products together and selling them as a gift basket not only creates a nice gift -- it increases your sales.

Gift baskets are a great way to sell your products! Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can incorporate this merchandising tool into your business.  

First remember the components:
1) Container -- don't get stuck in a rut -- there's more than wicker baskets out there.  Be creative! Try unique container ideas -- wooden crates, paint cans, berry baskets, gift boxes with lids.  These items can be less expensive than wicker and more unique and interesting -- this also helps with your costing.

2) Basket Shred -- an absolute must so that your products aren't sitting on the bottom where you can't see them.  Make sure the baskets look full!  Start with basket shred and then use small inexpensive things like loose candy or bath beads as filler.  Keep your filler matching the theme of your basket.

3) Cello Wrap -- try different patterns, not just clear. Try a leopard print cello for a "Trendy Teen" basket.  Be different -- create a look that is "you".

4) Finishing Touches -- ribbon and accents! Catch a customer's eye -- a little extra goes a long way!  Add an accent like a cluster of berries, a fall leaf pick, a beaded fruit ornament, or a rusty metal garden tool to further tie together your basket theme,  try using a less expensive ribbon but use more of it so it looks fuller.

Remember that the use of colour is so important. You want to create a basket that has visual appeal to your customer.  Co-ordinate the colours of your product, it's container, the basket shred, the cello and your accent pieces.  Nicely packaged -- easy sell!

Then create something unique:
Develop gift basket themes like spa/bath, food/candy, mom/dad, stress kit, hobby/job. Or a fun idea like "Broken Heart on the Mend (full of candy/chocolates, romance novel, etc), "First Home" include things like nails, tape, screwdriver, etc. 

Try to price baskets at different levels: Under $10. (hostess gift), under $20. (office gift/friend), under $50. (good friend).

Gift baskets are a great marketing tool for craftspeople -- they make your product look very professional and are an excellent way to move more product (rather than selling individual items).  Specialty baskets create interest and often result in impulse sales because they make it so easy!  Remember that not everyone can colour - coordinate or may not have all the materials or even the time to do it, and customers are willing to pay for the service.  What type of exciting gift basket can you create for your product?

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