But losses mount for the home furnishings e-retailer that went public in October.
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Godiva this year rolled out a couple of innovations that place its site above others. For one, a Gift Selector Service helps customers choose the right combination of gifts and shipping costs to fit a budget. For another, new information about the chocolate pieces allows customers to see both what’s in the boxes and what’s in each piece. “We want the web site to drive awareness of the brand, knowledge of what we offer and the opportunity to buy,” says Kim Land, vice president of Godiva Direct.
With the Gift Selector Service, a customer who wants to send multiple gifts can plug the number of gifts, the size of the budget and whether gifts will go to one address or multiple addresses into a calculator that displays choices within the budget including shipping. “We try to make gift giving really easy,” Land says.
Godiva has succeeded, Whitfield says. “At most sites it’s pretty cumbersome to send three gifts to three locations,” she says. “They facilitate orders in an above-average way.”
But Godiva isn’t pushing just sales. It’s also promoting its brand and acknowledging that customers will also shop in its boutiques or at candy counters of department stores. “Customers at the web site can easily understand what we offer and get the store experience,” Land says.
For instance, the web site features beauty shots of chocolate and high-quality images of the Godiva gold boxes. “They can’t taste the chocolate online, but we give them the visual impact,” Land says. Furthermore, product descriptions and details about box and piece contents are designed not only to entice buyers but also to deepen customers’ product understanding.
“The chocolate guide is all about bringing people into the Godiva experience online,” Land says.
The web site has been effective in selling the Godiva brand, as it has attracted younger customers, Land says. Interestingly, most orders come from areas where Godiva has a strong customer base. “The greatest knowledge of Godiva offline matches with the highest use online,” Land says. “Customers shop on the web for some purposes and go to the boutique for others.”
Unique Visitors (monthly)
Search Engine Management
Satisfying the sweet tooth online
Manufacturers—especially food companies—are typically not known for their great Internet sales capabilities. But Hersheys.com breaks that mold by providing a web site that is interesting to consumers and inviting enough that visitors will want to purchase customized chocolate products. “Manufacturers usually don’t communicate well with consumers, but Hershey’s goes out of its way to bring value to consumers through the web,” says Kelly Mooney, president of Ten/Resource, an Internet marketing company.
The site’s content plays an important role in selling chocolate as it provides recipes for chocolate-baked goods that can be printed out to fit on standard index cards. It also allows visitors to view a video tour of its famous factory in Hershey, Pa., and lets customers take a personality quiz to see which chocolate products best suit them. It also provides a map that consumers can click to find out which chocolate products are most popular in each state.
“Hershey’s connects well with the consumer,” Mooney says. “It makes visiting its site fun, but customers can learn a lot about the company and its products.”
Despite all the neat gadgets, much of the real attention is on what Hershey’s does best—sell chocolate. While its gifts section sells Hershey t-shirts, teddy bears and other ancillary products, the emphasis is on chocolate, whether that be gift baskets, canisters of bite-sized candy bars or customized chocolate goodies.
“They don’t sell online the standard products you can purchase in most stores,” Mooney says. “ For example, there is a promotion telling consumers they now get white chocolate Kit Kat bars in their local stores, but they don’t sell the candy bars online. Internet sales are mostly things that need to be ordered special.”
Among the unique products sold online are chocolate greeting cards. Among the standard cards are holiday greetings, “Thank You” and “Best Wishes.” The greetings can be written against a number of chocolate backgrounds, including a card that looks like a chocolate computer, a romantic card with hearts and ribbons and a card for teachers that has apples, scissors, crayons and a blackboard.
The site could use a few improvements, however. “It is not terribly well designed in that it is too list intensive,” says Mooney. “And sometimes, when you click on a link, you have a hard time getting back to the home page. They also need to do more frequent updates. I checked the site on Nov. 5 and it still had Halloween promotions.”
Nonetheless, Mooney says, “I think Hershey’s is trying to elevate its brand through the site and still provide something for everyone.”
Unique Visitors (monthly)
*As reported by comScore Networks Inc.
Shortening the supply chain
That California head of lettuce at a typical Midwestern supermarket may have taken a week to travel from field to store, and it was handled multiple times along the way. But Internet grocer SimonDelivers.com manages to shave off about half the time and touch points from field to consumer with a one-stage distribution model that cuts out middleman brokers whenever possible to supply its warehouse directly from producers. The result? A crisper head of lettuce for the consumer and a spot in Internet Retailer’s Top 50 for SimonDelivers.com.