Small Business Start-Up Idea – Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are an excellent present for family or friends and are often sent by people who are unable to attend a special occasion or celebration in person. Offering homemade gift baskets online allows your customers a much greater level of customisation than they would otherwise get from a high street store. Besides the revenue from the basket itself, there is an opportunity to make extra profit from services that add value to your product, such as gift wrapping. You can also earn money by selling advertising space to firms that are targeting the same audience as you but are not your competition (e.g. wedding planners).  

Skills needed: It would be useful if you had some knowledge of online advertising techniques in order to generate high levels of traffic. The most essential asset you will need is an in-depth knowledge of all the products you sell so that you are able to deal with customer queries.  

Business environment and set-up cost:  The only restriction on your business trading globally lies with international customs laws that may prohibit certain items being imported. As long as you thoroughly research this there are no real trade barriers. In order to start this business you will need basic computer equipment and software plus a digital camera to photograph your products. This business is ideal to set up using OnlineOffice in order to develop a professional storefront on the web. You may wish to invest in mailing list management and web traffic analysis software – although these are both expensive they are invaluable in time saving and for using targeted marketing techniques. In addition, some money must be set aside to promote the website and to purchase stock. The overall start-up cost will vary from £5,000 to £10,000 (6,000-12,000 EUR, 10,000-20,000 AUD / USD).

Marketing Techniques:  

  • Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
  • Place online links to your business at the websites and directories your target market will visit
  • Launch an affiliate program to generate referrals
  • Consider using banner advertising in relevant places like wedding websites throughout the year and targeting specific purpose websites like those dedicated to Valentine’s Day in the months leading up to the event
  • Giveaways are a good way of generating repeat visits – so hold regular competitions
  • Showcase a ‘Gift Basket of the Week’ in detail and offer a small discount on it – this could take the form of a weekly e-mail
  • Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online

Complimentary business ideas: You could offer a selection of the products sold in your baskets as separate items if there is enough demand for them  

Notes: Your main priority is to generate traffic to the site and this is where the majority of your workload comes from. In addition, you must carefully manage your inventory levels because offering a product for sale which is out of stock would ensure that a customer never returns.  

Online examples & resources:  

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