I'm Interested In Your Opinion!

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/18/13 08:47:18PM
527 posts

Hi Everybody!

Last week I pulled the trigger, bought out another chocolatier, and in typical "Insane Brad" fashion gave myself 7 days to turn their business around, renovate,and rebrand it as mine (I did it and video taped each day's progress for sharing at a later date). At the same time I decided to give my company's website a complete facelift - adding one more color to our standard blue and brown.

I would be interested in your opinion of the new look - good bad or ugly. For those of you who have been to my previous site, you'll probably see a lot more content as well.

I await your criticisms and accolades with baited breath....

Thanks in advance (I think).

Oh... Here's the site: www.SoChoklat.com

Brad


updated by @brad-churchill: 04/13/15 11:58:07PM
Greg Gould
@greg-gould
01/19/13 01:38:37AM
68 posts
Not so good on my Android phone. You can't scroll down.
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/19/13 02:08:44AM
527 posts

Thanks!

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
01/19/13 05:14:40AM
194 posts

The first time I tried to load it, it took forever and I gave up. This time it was fast. I am not a fan of light colored text. The blue and pink are a bit hard to read. Personally, I like a darker text. A side note--when a new customer comes in, do you offer samples of the chocolate? How would a customer know which chocolate pairs with a particular flavor? Do you offer a variety of chocolates in your truffles, or just the bars?

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/19/13 06:43:19PM
527 posts

Ruth;

Thanks for the feedback.

In answer to your questions, we don't sample at all. Given that I make several different dark chocolates out of several different beans, we would literally have to feed people. For a chocolatier who uses one variety of dark chocolate, sampling makes sense. However it doesn't in our case.

I have also found that sampling negatively affects sales. Chocolate for the most part is an impulse purchase, and if the customer's sweet tooth has been satisfied by a sample, they often purchase less than they were originally intending. This is in line with a common phrase in the diet and health industry "Never shop for groceries when you are hungry. You will almost always over purchase and make bad choices." Customers have entered the shop to BUY chocolate. I'm certainly not going to feed it to them free.

Just like the wine industry does, there are in depth descriptions of each of our chocolates. This helps customers who prefer fruitier chocolate or earthier chocolate.

With regard to our truffles, wehave standardized onone variety of milk and one variety of dark chocolate for them. It doesn't make sense to offer multiple milks and darks, when all of our truffles are made to order, and the flavor nuances from one dark to the nextare masked by the 100's of combinations of coatings and centers. As far as truffles are concerned, they are simply a confection that uses chocolate, and not celebrates chocolate.

Hope that answers your questions.

Cheers

Brad

brian horsley
@brian-horsley
01/19/13 07:41:22PM
48 posts

brad you once offered me your opinion on my marketing materials, and since you asked i will do you the same service.

the site seems like a bunch of pages full of small hard to read text apparently written by you in the same voice as you use here on choc life. no interesting pics. almost no detailed information on your very numerous fillings and rolled in coatings for your products. what's hot diggity made of? what's a pastel sequin? after i click a link it turns light pink and i can't see it against the white background. when i clicked "i promise" it took forever to load the order form and when it did it was ugly and confusing. some pages had the text cut off like you could scroll down but you couldn't. the heavy text and lack of imagery makes it seem antiquated and a little amateurish. there's more but that's the gist, good luck with your new location.

saludos,
brian

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/19/13 09:01:34PM
527 posts

Thanks for the feedback Brian!

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
01/19/13 09:28:00PM
55 posts

Your " Our Difference" page made me want to get on a plane and fly over to experience the difference first hand LOL. Text on the other pages sounds very inviting as well and I actually wanted to order some undoubtedly delicious truffles only to discover that I couldn't . Bummer.

P.S. Not smart phone friendly at all.

Clay Gordon
@clay
01/20/13 09:49:38AM
1,680 posts

Brad:

I have to agree with others who state that the site is not very smart phone friendly. I visited the site on an iPhone 4s and in landscape mode viewing the entire contents of pages (bottom scrolling) is difficult. On the catalog page (and this is not just an issue on the phone but on my laptop) the text in the blue bar across the top is not completely visible. From a usability perspective, the "I Promise" page should be shown only once in each visit. Or, if you want to, rotate the photo each view during a visit.

However, the larger issue for me is the overall tone of much of the writing and what appears to be the core from which it is written.

I think it safe to say that most people who get into the chocolate business get into it because they love chocolate. From what I read on your "about the choklatier" page, you got into chocolate because you got pissed off. I mean, really angry. Your anger is still palpable in your writing, now, what, nearly eight years after the incident? What I get from your tone is that you are not the "bad boy" of chocolate that you think you are - you come across as the angry petulant child of chocolate.

I find the expressed point of view tiresome. Immediately tiresome. Based on the content and tone of the writing of your current web site, I would never, ever, do business with you. And, if asked for my opinion, I could not recommend that anyone do business with you.

The other reason I cannot make a recommendation to others to engage in commerce with you is, of course, that I have never tasted any of your confections so I can't render an opinion on them. Nor am I ever likely to because oh - I can't actually buy them without traveling to Calgary. I did a little research and I can't find any other reviewer whose opinion I trust that has ever reviewed your products. So I can't even cite them.

My advice to you - if you really care and are serious about really, really listening to what ChocolateLife members have to say, is:

Chill out.
It's just chocolate.
You're not solving world hunger or campaigning for world peace.

Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "It's just chocolate. It's just chocolate. It's just chocolate. It's justchocolate." Now consider rewriting your web site by appealing to your customer' love for chocolate - not as an outlet for your anger. It is a matter ofwhat you say -- andhow you say it.

My $.04 (considering inflation and the exchange rate)




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/20/13 12:33:12PM
527 posts

Clay;

Thanks for your opinion. As a really pissed off consumer - turned petulant child - turned successful chocolatier, I would have to disagree with some of what you wrote and say that I'm definitely on the right track with my marketing.

People are tired of being misled and lied to by marketing propaganda from businesses in all industries. My journey is what it is, and I'm not going to lie to people about why I started in this business. If I were to pad it, or otherwise sugar coat my story, that to me would make me a hypocrite and undermine the entire purpose of me starting this business venture in the first place. After all, who would believe anything written about a business when the owner himself lies about why he got into the industry?

My journey and story isn't about chocolate. It's about starting and growing a successful business with honesty and integrity, while at the same time standing up to deceptive competition.

...and I must say, my business is very successful. Apparently your opinion differs from the thousands of people whopurchase enough of my products to allow me to have bought twoother locations this year alone with the business's own cash!

If you had read the last two paragraphs of "my journey", you will read that along the way I actually began to truly enjoy the chocolate industry.

Again, though, thank you for your opinion. After all, I did ask for it.

Brad

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/20/13 12:43:41PM
527 posts

Thanks for the feedback!

I tried something different with the programming on the bottom div, and it's clearly not working as intended. Over the weekend I'll definitely be making viewable on mobile devices.

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/21/13 02:59:37AM
527 posts

Thanks Lisa!

Thomas Forbes
@thomas-forbes
01/21/13 08:18:57PM
102 posts

The site looks good, clean and simple. Good luck as you grow and I really appreciate all your comments.

Clay Gordon
@clay
01/22/13 12:01:42PM
1,680 posts

Brad:

I did a little math on your truffle flavor options. Looks like:

17 different flavors for the centers
2 different chocolate options
23 different options for toppings (including nothing)

That's 782 different combination (17x2x23), far fewer than the 1,100 number you mention on your site. If I add in all the other items (caf, gifts, bars) I don't make it past 810 items.

That's still a lot - but unless I am missing something, it's far short of the combinations on offer.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/22/13 01:33:04PM
527 posts

There are things my shop offers which aren't currently on the menu and are available only at certain times of the year. There are also items that I personally make and offer to people. Those items are also not on the public menu. We're actually closer to 1175 options.

Philippa
@philippa
01/22/13 06:44:15PM
1 posts

Hi Brad,

I had actually looked at your old website a few months ago, and have looked at the new one now. The colour scheme is nice and appealing to females- and surely we must account for more than 50% of chocolate purchasing decisions....

I agree that more descriptions of the fillings would be good- in fact some of the best content on the site is hidden in the PDFs- particularly the menu pdf where it describes each blend of chocolate- if you could bring some of the product descriptions and lists up to the main part of the site in my view it would add more interest and make it more engaging.

Also have to agree that putting a "Buy Now" button on the home page without full online ordering functionality is a bit confusing & disappointing....- if you are not planning to offer online fulfillment/shipping- the button might be better as "Click and Collect" or something like that....

Anyway, that is my 2c.

regards, philippa

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/22/13 06:58:33PM
527 posts

Philippa;

Thanks for the contribution. I'm a bit confused about your comment with re: the "buy now" button. We Do take orders over the 'net, in fact several every day. We just don't deliver, or ship outside of Calgary. If you click the "I Promise" button, it launches a window which allows you to customize your truffle order.

Maybe you missed that? Maybe others did too??

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
01/22/13 07:50:24PM
55 posts

Y is it that you do not ship outside Calgary agn?

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/22/13 08:39:07PM
527 posts

That's right. We have a large contingent of regular customers who make use of our online ordering system to place orders for custom truffles, and then come into our shop and pick them up.

Further to that, our ordering screen looks like a tabbed Windows dialogue box. Most of our orders come from corporate admin assistants who are familiar with the Windows Operating system, and find the tab "look" very easy to use. Yes, it looks "ugly" as one person commented. However it's meant to be functional, and who am I to tell Microsoft that they don't know how to design a user interface to be functional? I'll make it look just like the 90% of computers out there, so that 90% of my customers can easily place their orders.

It's important to remember that Choklat doesn't operate like every other chocolatier. Each of our confections are made specifically to order, and not made in advancethen set out on display. For those who don't wish to wait 10 minutes or so for their truffles to be made, they can order from the convenience of their computer, and thenhave the order waiting for them when they stop in.

Our online ordering system has been a very popular convenience for many people - especially around holiday times when we often have large line ups. They go online when it's convenient, and book their order for the date they way, and then skip the line on the date they've chosen, pick up their product and are on their way.

From a planning perspective, it's fabulous for our staff, because they can see what's coming down the pipe, and prepare all of tomorrow's online orders before the end of business today. Sometimes there are as many as 40-50 orders pre-booked for a specific day such as Valentines day.

With 3 locations now, the ordering screen is going to change and allow the customer the ability to choose where they would like to pick up their order. Once placed, the order will be queued up for that specific location on the day chosen by the customer.

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/22/13 08:48:05PM
527 posts

I don't need to go through the hassle of packaging, couriers, shipping costs, melted chocolateand other BS. In the Calgary area alone there are almost 1.5 million people - more than ample market for severalChoklat stores. ( currently have 3) Only when I've tapped into every area of the city, and every Calgarian knows about my business, and I'm sitting there asking myself how I can get more product on the streets, will I even begin to consider shipping.


updated by @brad-churchill: 01/26/15 08:20:15PM
Christopher M Koshak
@christopher-m-koshak
01/23/13 09:15:21PM
15 posts

Hi Brad,

Not to pile on here but, I agree with just about all of the bad things that were said in the other reply's, but I also have never seen the the word cacau before I've always seen it spelled cacao, when I Googled it, mostly all that came up was a Brazilian soccer/football star named Cacau. I may be wrong but I just thought you should check.

Best of luck with the new business.

Chris


updated by @christopher-m-koshak: 09/07/15 06:38:14PM
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/23/13 09:50:43PM
527 posts

Chris;

Thanks for taking the time to check things out andweigh in.

Cheers

Brad

Kristi
@kristi
01/25/13 03:23:30PM
1 posts

Hi Brad,

I just checked out your site. I appreciate the work you put into it, it is a lot of hard work for sure! The fact that you have asked for opinions means that you do care what others think. For me, I think its a nice mellow looking site but it does not reflect the wording of what you have written. I personally think it needs a Wow factor. In saying so, I am asking myself if mine has any wow factor to it. I agree that it needs more pictures of your work and past works. Perhaps even pictures of you making the chocolate from the bean. A couple things stand out for me in reading about you and how you are portraying yourself and the Chocolate industry to the public. A Chocolatier and a Chocolate maker are two very distinct roles and two very important roles. Without either one, the other is lacking. There is a saying from my childhood where I grew up in Alberta (I'm no spring chicken haha),I was told that it is very important to learn one thing really really well and from there all things will branch out. Also, all the chocolatiers and chocolate makers I have met so far have a humility and a team spirit. If we trust each other, we can work togethor to create a product/s that is not only delicious but has the expertise of fine ingredients,integrity, the passion, the skilland the team spirit all built into it. You mentioned about someone elses chocolate just being melted down. What about the other ingredients? Are all those made from yourself as well. I would just caution on how things are worded and what is being portrayed. It could be the way I read it but it feels like you put down the competition and other chocolatiers in general to make yourself seem better. This is how a lot of politicians are now and I don't want to know how bad others are, I want to know your passion, your expertise, your love of what you are doing and your story of how chocolate makes you feel not from a negative standpoint but what is positive about your experience. Add a little bit of how much you are loving your life now because your curiosity of how chocolate is made caused you to want to make it yourself. I like your Logo and I love the fact that you were brave enough to ask for opinions. It does sound like you want your customers to be happy and its great that word of mouth is getting you business. If you dress up the website just a little more with a few of the suggestions, I'm sure more will be drawn to you.Shipping is a bit of a pain in Canada so I don't blame you for not wanting to but it sure would bring more sales. However, like you said, its not what you are looking for. I am learning a lot from this whole discussion and am always tweaking my own website. This will help for sure! Good luck with everything! If I'm back in Alberta at some point, I will stop in and say hi!

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/25/13 09:30:54PM
527 posts

Wow. Thank you very much for taking the time to write what you did.

Cheers.

Brad

Felipe Jaramillo F.
@felipe-jaramillo-f
01/27/13 07:51:26PM
55 posts

Hi Brad,

Your contributions have helped me a lot in the past and I thought it may be good to share my thoughts. I've worked on the web for over 15 years and I think some of these points can benefit others. I won't discuss messaging or content as I agree with others to frame the whole site and the story in a morepositiveway first.

Pink on white navigation (left hand) has very limited contrast. It is hard to read in general and should prove very hard for people with limited visibility, glare, bad monitors, etc. According to the W3C, the contrast ratio should be a minimum of 4.5:1. Your pink on white is 1.36:1. Play with the Colour Contrast Checkersonline. Also, there is no way to go back to the home page from the internal pages. It's nice to make the logo have a hyperlink.

Overall the site's design looks a bit outdated and could surely benefit with some new techniques or design practices. There has been a true revolution in the last 10 years regarding front-end frameworks as well as the theme marketplace for design materials. There is no need to code sites completely unless your needs or content is specially complex and you have top notch designers/coders (and budget to match).

If you are doing the design in-house look at front-end frameworks. You can code a high quality, responsive site that looks great on smartphones, tablets, desktops and future devices:

Bootstrap(by Twitter). Provides most of what you need in a web site in a responsive, mobile friendly manner. Includes grids, forms, buttons, slide showcarrousels modal windows and beautiful type usage.

Foundation(by Zurb). Similar to Bootstrap. Beautiful, simple and a great start for powering many sites.

Either of the two frameworks are a great basis for any kind of site. Working with only stylesheets (CSS) and simple HTML you can really make the site unique and save a lot of work.

For ready made designs which require little to no customization, my favorite is ThemeForest. They generally have high quality themes for plain html/css, wordpress and different e-commerce systems.

ThemeForest- Website Theme marketplace. Browse around or search for 'Responsive'.
GraphicRiver- Marketplace for images, diagrams, vector arts. It's good to avoid clip-art or overused stock images.

I had visited your site before and was sorry to hear you didn't ship out of Calgary. Maybe you can take advantage of the winter months to make chocolate more accessible.

Best,

Felipe

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
01/28/13 12:22:31AM
55 posts

I second that , Maybe you can take advantage of the winter months and ship a box or 10 to NYC.

Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
01/28/13 01:37:43AM
527 posts

Felipe;

Thank you for the input. I'll definitely take a look at those tools. I did code the site by hand, and it's clear now that my chocolate making skills far surpass my graphic arts/web design skills! Haha!

Cheers

Brad

Clay Gordon
@clay
01/31/13 08:55:33PM
1,680 posts

Brad -

I think that's more than a little disingenuous. Customers don't really care about the total universe of recipes you have, they care about what they can buy today. They don't care if you used to make it, or are going to make it, or if it's a special treat that you make and offer up according to some schedule only you know.

They want to know what they can buy today. As near as I can tell, that's about 800 items. It's still a lot, but it's not 1175 (or even 1000). So why not be straight and up front about it?

Why not tell people that at any given time there are more than 799 (to pick a random number) combinations from a menu that numbers over 1150 - it's still way more than almost anyone else offers.

Anything else is less than 100% honest, IMO.




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

Tags

Member Marketplace


Activity

Xocol855
 
@xocol855 • 2 months ago
Created a new forum topic:
slaviolette
 
@slaviolette • last year • comments: 0
Created a new discussion "Cost of goods produced":
"Hi Everyone, Been a long time member but I have not been in in a few years, the fact is that I had to close down my small chocolate business.. but now is..."
chocolatelover123
 
@chocolatelover123 • 2 years ago • comments: 0
Created a new forum topic:
New Chocolate Brand - "Palette"
Marita Lores
 
Marita Lores
 
Vercruysse Geert
 
Vercruysse Geert