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Promoting an Online Store

Case Study: How Justine Kadoche is Building Gift Basket Super Center Online?


Online Store Owner Justine KadocheWhen Justine Kadoche first began the market research for her business, she planned to open a physical store. But as she researched her idea, she became intrigued by the potential to reach people all over the country and anywhere in the world.

Kadoche does not rule out the possibility of someday opening a bricks and mortar location, but she found that creating an online store first made great financial sense. After spending six months to build her online store, GiftBasketSuperCenter.com was born. Kadoche blends the best of the real and virtual worlds by creating some of her own gift baskets, while using a drop shipper to fulfill most orders.

Gift Basket Super Center targets corporate managers who use her colorful baskets featuring chocolate, truffles or popcorn treats to strengthen the bonds with their customers. Her extensive gift lines also include towers (boxes with different sizes) and a great line of baby baskets.

What makes Gift Basket Super Center unique?
It's easy to sense Kadoche's passion for her company. Ask her why people should buy from her business, and she quickly rattles off a list that begins with quality products, great selection, attractive prices and excellent service. To explain what she means, Kadoche uses words like speedy and reliable. But what she really means is that she goes out of her way to make sure her customers are happy with her products.

Online Store meets School Fair: Justine and her kids at school fair.Justine Kadoche and her children, Brandon, 10, and Charlie, 9, exhibit her gift baskets at a school fair. Promoting her products at local fairs is one of the strategies she has used to increase the visibility of her business offline.

Visit her website to see her wide array of chocolate roses, candy gift basket, birthday gift basket or gift baskets.


"If a customer needs something that is not on the site, I can make a custom gift basket or candy creation to fit their gift giving needs," she says, explaining that she even includes a customized gift card with the order.

How do you reach corporate managers?

Gift Basket Super Center at a Glance

Tagline:  Your one-stop gift source
Target customer: corporate managers
Favorite strategies: Email and postcards
Other strategies: Google Adwords, Search Engine optimization, flyers, Word of Mouth.
Time on line: two years
Key selling points:  Quality products, great variety at attractive prices and speedy, reliable, even customized service
Biggest marketing challenge:  marketing on a budget

www.giftbasketsupercenter.com

Kadoche has used a variety of marketing strategies including a Google AdWords campaign, email marketing, postcards, search engine optimization, and word of mouth. To get her business off the ground, she told everyone she knew about her gift baskets and even put flyers on cars.

Which strategies worked best?

Surprisingly, Kadoche reports that postcards and the email campaigns, she runs regularly using Constant Contact, have delivered the best results. "It's really an excellent program," she says of Constant Contact. Her corporate prospects appear to enjoy receiving her visual newsletters by email. A fun campaign featured a truck, built around the concept of a "truckload of treats."

Kadoche gives Adwords mixed reviews, but mostly because she finds it difficult to know if she is running the most effective campaign. After running an Adwords campaign for three months, she stopped because of rising click prices and growing concerns about the effectiveness of her ads. Kadoche used the keyword traffic generator to select the keywords for her campaign and read all the material Google provides. But she found the material overwhelming and not well organized.

It's a terrific tool that has a lot of potential," said Kadoche, adding that she hopes to learn more about Adwords in the future through Webinars, tele-classes or other hands-on training. She describes her biggest marketing challenge as "marketing on a budget." She finds the number of options to be complex and expensive.

"It's difficult to know upfront how well an option will work," Kadoche says. "You can learn as much as possible, but eventually you just have to jump in."

After reviewing an ebook on marketing gift baskets by Sharron Senter, a Massachusetts marketing consultant, Kadoche says she plans to write articles and place ads in ezines that reach her target customer.

Kadoche's advice for others looking to start a business online:

"You have to have a lot of determination," she says, explaining that initially she experienced a lot of technical problems with her web site. She tried a couple of other software programs before building her site with Homestead an Intuit Co. because the other programs didn't have all of the features she wanted. And getting traffic to her store took time.

Contacting other small business owners is also a big help, Kadoche said. She urges people to take advantage of small business forums like Intuit's JumpUp forum which she joined about six months ago.

Would she do it all again?

Definitely, says Kadoche, admitting that she loves running an online store and finds it very rewarding.

by Marcia Ming -

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