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Help in building a chocolate web site
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foodhead
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January 5, 2006 - 2:48 am
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[?] Hi again, wondering if anyone hear has had any luck building their own web site to sell their chocolate. I would love to hear your good bad and indiferent experiences on the subject.

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patsikes
Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
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January 13, 2006 - 5:05 am
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I am a web developer by day and a chocolate by night.... My website has been a work in progress for the last 6 months. I have online ordering setup via PayPay which is very easy to do.

Any comments on my site would be appriciated...

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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foodhead
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January 15, 2006 - 9:28 pm
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Pat, just checked out your site. Looks good, you did it all yourself? Also, thanks for the tip on the Mason Box Comp.

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patsikes
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January 17, 2006 - 5:05 pm
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Hey foodhead,
Yea...did it all my self with my lovely wife pointing out all the typeos along the way. We are finally starting to get our name out in our area enough that we are getting some web sales.

And no problem on masonbox, they have a good product...

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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escape
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January 27, 2006 - 7:39 pm
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Pat your site has just wonderful photographs! I practically drooled at the home page image of chocolate dipped strawberries.

But I have to tell you that I got a database error when I tried to look at many of your pages & I was soooo looking forward to them!

Some stuff is a little out of alignment in Firefox (yes I know there's not that many of us using it but one day it will take over the world!)

I do hope your business goes great. Those strawberries, mmmmmmmmmm

Best Regards
Anna

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escape
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January 27, 2006 - 7:54 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by foodhead
[?] Hi again, wondering if anyone hear has had any luck building their own web site to sell their chocolate. I would love to hear your good bad and indiferent experiences on the subject.


Hi Foodhead,
Yup, I developed [url]www.chocolatsbelges.com[/url] (Belgian chocolate online shop) and the biggest lesson I learned is that chocolate is an incredibly competitive market on the web. As in many businesses, marketing is critical. Product quality is vital to discerning customers (as in this fine forum), but businesses can go bust waiting for organic growth to produce enough sales to survive. So think hard about how you're going to market it.

Very best of luck,
Anna

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patsikes
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January 30, 2006 - 5:04 pm
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I think photos are key to selling on the web. Since they can't taste or smell your product until they buy it (and pay extra for shipping) you have to make them want it with pictures.

I am currently in the process of redoing my photos. We just swiched box companies so the packaging is out of date.

We bought a portable photo booth to help with making the picutres better and it really helps. It is targeted at eBAYers. It is called an ePhotoMaker. I bought mine here: http://www.adorama.com/LSEPM36.....;item_no=2

Anna, do you happen to rememeber what the database errors said.

Foodhead, if you need any help, let me know. I do some web design on the side, after all the chocolate work is done.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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cacaoman
Haleiwa, USA
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February 3, 2006 - 5:03 am
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Hi All
I have recently started a chocolate site also. Escape is not joking about it being competitive, I can’t believe how many choices there are for people. I also agree about the pictures being very important. I recently had a chocolate party and used this as an opportunity to get pictures of people really enjoying chocolate. These will be on my site soon. The people at the party are also my first customers. Psiloveyouchocolate and chocolatesbelges both look good; I had to check out the competition[:)].

Please let me know what you think of my site http://www.euphoricchocolate.com

I am looking for more products so if you have an affiliate program I would be interested, especially for dark chocolate.

Cacaoman
http:www.euphoricchocolate.com

Cacaoman http:www.euphoricchocolate.com
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oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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February 3, 2006 - 11:43 am
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Hi cacaoman,

You should test your website in some browsers other than IE. I use Firefox, on which the opening paragraph of your homepage is completely unreadable (it's covered over by the euphoricchocolate.com banner).

Sam :-)

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patsikes
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February 3, 2006 - 4:34 pm
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I like your top graphic of the blue sky and the woman. The chocolate bar name plate might be a little too heavy for the airy feal the top graphic gives.

Also, I kept getting a "Display secure and nonsecrue content" error when I went to the product details pages. I would suggest you only have your checkout portion of your site in SSL mode. That encription will make the site run much slower.

So wich island in Hawaii are you on? Any good sources for mac nuts? I am getting tired of paying $8 - $9 a pound for them...

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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cacaoman
Haleiwa, USA
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February 4, 2006 - 6:16 am
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Thanks for the feedback. The banner overlap problem occurs in safari also; I will look into both of your suggestions. Thanks again. Mack nuts are not cheap anywhere. The problem is getting them out of the shell. As a kid, I once tried to open one with a hammer on the driveway and ended up with a hole in the black top but nothing to eat. I will let you know if I see any good sources. I assume you are looking for quantity for making your candy or are they for personal consumption?

Cacaoman
http:www.euphoricchocolate.com

Cacaoman http:www.euphoricchocolate.com
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escape
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February 6, 2006 - 12:19 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by patsikes
Anna, do you happen to rememeber what the database errors said.


Sorry I meant to reply sooner but the last week has flown past. (Better late than never?!) I don't recall the exact error, maybe the database was temporarily down? Anyway it seems to be working fine now. :)

I was going to comment that you have a missing image on your home page: http://www.psiloveyouchocolate.....eBox18.png but then I see it's shown in IE. Odd - it's consistently not shown in Firefox!

Best wishes,
Anna
(developer of http://www.chocolatsbelges.com)

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escape
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February 6, 2006 - 12:59 pm
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I wonder how folk find chocolates online?

Branded products like chocolate bars are fairly easy, but boxes of truffles/ pralines etc for gifts are difficult as you really can't tell what they'll taste like. Inevitably I guess most folk guess the chocolate quality from the photo & website quality if the brand is new to them?

I have to admit that, personally speaking, I'd only buy from either someplace I already know (as good chocolate is expensive and I don't like to make expensive mistakes!), or from somewhere recommended independently and frequently somewhere I trust (e.g. on websites like this - actually just this one!).

Any "thinking out of the box" (hehehe) ideas or comments?

Anna

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Hans-Peter Rot
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February 6, 2006 - 4:02 pm
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Lots of times it is a gamble, but most often, a chocolatier will have a press section of the site where he/she has amassed all the positive reviews of the chocolates for consumers to read. But I usually find that these reviews are much too subjective: "simply divine," "lucious this," and "exquisite that." It annoys me to no end that these reviewers don't actually describe objectively what the chocolates are like. For example: How strong are the flavorings? How firm are the ganaches? How strong is the chocolate? How is the texture? Questions like that are very useful because people have different preferences, many of which are determined by such variables mentioned in the aforementioned questions.

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patsikes
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February 6, 2006 - 4:50 pm
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Anna, Thanks for the info and validation. I am wondering if FireFox does not supprot PNP...may need to change that image to a jpg. Those graphic headers are created on the fly by .NET and the code sample I looked at was to PNP....

Cacaoman, The Mac nuts are for the business...it is not one of our big sellers, but we do a chocolate toffee mac nut. Don't worry too much about it....unless you stumble onto some sweet deal.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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escape
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February 6, 2006 - 6:03 pm
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Hi Patrick,

I don't know PNP - do you mean png? In which case Firefox is happy to show pngs.

I'd guess it's complaining at either the , ' or ! in your generated src="/images/graphicpageheadersHappy Valentine's Day!_ChocolateBox18.png"

Hope that helps
Anna

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escape
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February 6, 2006 - 6:13 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano
I usually find that these reviews are much too subjective: "simply divine," "lucious this," and "exquisite that."

Agreed, and that goes for pretty much anything reviewed. When we moved home we initially believed the restaurant reviews in the local magazines & newspapers - boy were we disappointed! I now only believe reviews from sources I trust.

...but I take the point, and, subjective as they will be, I'll ask the store owner to pass on any press reviews I can add to the site. Thank you!

Any more ideas anyone?

Best wishes
Anna
(developer of http://www.chocolatsbelges.com)

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foodhead
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February 11, 2006 - 5:12 am
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It seems word of mouth has to be the focus, especially for small producers. With all the competition on the web we are considering focusing locally to start and let that momentum carry us further and further what does everyone think??

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Dale
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February 13, 2006 - 9:10 am
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Hi,
l have just updated my website, and wanted a few pointers. http://www.thechocolatedeli.co.uk
We decided to go for printable orderform just to test the water, and it hasn't seamed to put anyone off as the orders are flying in.
l do realise that l am selling to a different market ie: brides etc
but so far so good.

www.thechocolatedeli.co.uk
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patsikes
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February 15, 2006 - 7:23 pm
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Nice website Dale. Not sure if it is different market, or the fact that your product is a special order item. Either way, whatever works right? :-)

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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