Skip to main content

basketsgalore.ie

Our Top 10 Mistakes: (Part 1 of 2)

As Basketsgalore approaches its 10th Birthday we’re looking back at some of the highs and lows of setting up an online gift basket business.
As you can imagine a lot has changed since the first Basketsgalore website went live in 2001. Over the years the primary website has seen five rewrites with numerous amendments in between. Here is a selection of our most memorable mistakes.
And on the basis that more is learnt from our mistakes than our successes, we begin with the aforementioned.

1) Maya the talking Mannequin.
This was a great idea in theory. It involved purchasing a software licence to enable a 3D character to talk to the customer and deal with their most frequently asked questions. The character had to be programmed to blink and make facial changes.
We got to the point of beginning voice recordings for the character and programming changes in facial expressions. Maya was uploaded to the website, but was met with a hail of opposition. “What’s that dummy doing in the corner?” was the most frequent question. Maya was quietly dropped from version IV of the website.



2) Animation Website
The animation was brilliant, we got the detail perfectly and it was drawn by an excellent company from Canada. We wanted something which set us apart from the competition and the animation captured it brilliantly. Unfortunately it slowed the website. With Google’s emphasis placed on fast loading times, it became a casualty of progress.

You can see it confined to the annals of e-history at:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuOiwRG_8Dw

3) Babygifts.basketsgalore.co.uk. In the olden days of the early 2000s, sub-domains were highly effective. Over the years we simply didn’t have enough resources to tackle this domain effectively. It is now in its 3rd incarnation and has been transferred to a new domain; babybasketsgalore.co.uk. However, the 2nd version was a horror and is a testimony to what happens when you keep patching and repairing a website. Navigation was confusing, imagery, shapes and fonts were mish-mashed. When design and technology do not coordinate this web-site is the result.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:rLnyZwUxS4cJ:babygifts.basketsgalore.co.uk/clothes.html+babygifts.basketsgalore&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

4) Valentines Gift Boxes. Perhaps our favourite mistake of all as it was an elementary and idealistic novice’s mistake. When the company started off we targeted Valentines Day as a great potential market for our gift baskets. We wanted red boxes and we would wrap them for delivery around our local area. The supplier needed a minimum order quantity and we agreed. We had no idea what 1000 boxes looked like, but its quite a lot when you’re working from 2 downstairs rooms and a garage.
Looking back on it now, we sold quite well as we were running around drumming up sales days in advance with flyers and calls to local businesses. However, the legacy of the red boxes is that 80% of them are still floating around. They are still wrapped in their original brown paper and at least provide some amount of insulation in our roofspace.

5) Brochure No 1. Our first brochure was a horror from a financial and marketing perspective It was designed in 2002 and bears testimony to naïve and irrational youthful exuberance. We chuckle about it now as it was 10 years ago and we have moved on eons since then. It was full A4 sized 16 page colour glossy brochure. It was expensive, cumbersome and completely ineffective. In our defence it must be remembered that the internet was not like the way it is today. E-Commerce sales were still very much in their infancy. Our beautiful brochure was obsolete as soon as it was printed. Thankfully we could not afford to print many. Nevertheless it is remarkable how certain elements of that brochure can still be seen today, so on that basis perhaps it was worth it. There was category segmentation, imagination, and clear competitive differentiation from anything else in the market place. It was a Gift Basket brochure designed for Northern Ireland which was theoretically sound, but practically incorrect on a national basis.
Click to view original brochure.

Hopefully if you are thinking of starting up a gift basket or hamper business, you will recognise some of these issues and consider our experiences. Maybe it will help to prevent you from making the same mistakes.

Second part of our Top 10 mistakes of the past 10 years next week.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Free Chocolate Upgrade

As you well know, Lily O’Brien's chocolates are known throughout the world and yet made right on our doorstep in County Kildare. A key feature within many of our hampers throughout the year but especially at Christmas we were pretty annoyed when they got in contact to say they had run out of packaging for our beloved Triple Chocolate Indulgence. So, we went back to the drawing the board. Trying to find something as delicious and around a similar price point but nothing would cut it. Lily O’Brien's got in contact with us and offered us an even better box of chocolates with a very minor price change - we JUMPED at the opportunity. The price of an 108g box containing only 7 chocolates to a 300g box with an assortment of 30 chocolates with just a small price change on our behalf, you would be mad not to take that!
With our customers always at the forefront of our mind we thought we needed to tell you about this amazing deal we got our hands on and how it affects you. IT DOES NOT A…

Another Lily O'Brien Chocolate Upgrade

I’ll give you a quick recap…
As you know, Lily O’Brien's ran out of packaging for the Triple Chocolate Indulgence - which we love! They very kindly gave us an upgrade but as I explained before, not all of our baskets are big enough to fit the massive new box of chocolates and therefore not everyone would receive the upgrade. Feeling a tad exasperated we went back to Lily O’Brien's, surely they could help us out one more time. Needless to say, not one to disappoint they came through. Upgrading us once again! By explaining the dimensions of our basket and the type of product we had in mind, Lily O’Brien's suggested The Ultimate Collection. Ultimate by name and opulent by nature. An array of 16 finely crafted Irish chocolates with a recommend retail price of €10 meaning it works out at 62c per chocolate. A variety of 8 mouth watering flavours complete the Ultimate Chocolate Collection: Le Crunch Chocolat - Buttery crumbs of sumptuous caramelized French biscuit delicately mixed t…

Ireland Gift News

Ireland Gift Basket News Update

Basketsgalore's Irish blog primary role is to keep customers completely up to date with the status of the company’s capability to deliver its hampers and gift baskets in real time. At Christmas time this is particularly important when you want to have confidence that if you place an order a few days before Christmas that the hamper or gift will be dispatched in time.

However, such data, whilst essential is not exactly exciting to read so to keep people interested, Basketsgalore will sprinkle between these vital posts some random blog posts pertaining to the company, its history and some advice on creating your own gift basket company or hampers, along with a few posts, which we hope will make you smile. We were Ireland's original exclusive gift basket company, but we have been competing in the UK market for the past few years, which is why our Irish customers will likely only know us if they have received one of our gift baskets.

So in future al…