Online buying/selling?

Kirsi Hyytiäinen
@kirsi-hyytiinen
09/10/09 11:44:21AM
7 posts
Hi chocolate lovers&producers!I have just started the Ecole Chocolat and have been looking at the web pages of several chocolate artisans&manufactures. I am wondering, have you bought online, through internet, chocolate, how often and what kind of experiences have you had? Satisfied or any problems if chocolate was not ok? Postal costs?And from chocolate artisans I would like to hear, how much you sell online compared to your selling from your boutique? How have you developed this part of your business?I am living in Geneva and have never bought chocolate online because I am in a happy situtation to be surrounded by chocolate boutiques.Happy to hear every feedback,Greetings from GenevaKirsi
updated by @kirsi-hyytiinen: 04/10/16 03:03:52PM
Despina Antypa
@despina-antypa
10/20/09 07:26:42AM
12 posts
Hello KirsiUnfortunately I can't help you with your question because although I have searched a lot I can't find any manufacturer from who I can buy retail. They only sell if you are a professional, at least in Europe.But I would like to ask you something. I am thinking of starting the courses in Ecole Chocolat on January, and I would be very grateful if you could tell me some things about it. Especially, how do they do it on line. How can they test what you do. Does it works with a web camera?Thanks a lotD.
Kirsi Hyytiäinen
@kirsi-hyytiinen
10/20/09 07:05:06PM
7 posts
Hi Despina,Thanks anyway for your reply. I can recommend warmly the Ecole Chocolat.For me it is a lot of work so I never manage 1h/day or one day/weekend as they have calculated. There is always somebody online answering your questions so lot of help. And the colleagues, this time around 30, mainly from US, do have very often more experience than I have.The school is based on your reports you are sending to teachers on your work and research so they do not use web camera. You just need internet connection for getting all the material online. Lot of instructions and ideas so this keeps me busy. And the tutors answer in detail and give the advise. The course is very practical orientated and in that sense just what I was looking for.By the way, saw that you are going to Vienna: great city. I can recommend the well known Sacher and all the other chocolatiers. I ate the Sacher and other chocolate cakes so did not buy any instruments but I am sure you'll find them easily there!Please keep in touch. I saw you are also making chocolates just now,Kirsi
Kirsi Hyytiäinen
@kirsi-hyytiinen
10/21/09 04:06:56PM
7 posts
That's interesting, Lana!How much was the shipping from US to Canada, compared to product price/weight?And shipping across Canada; do you use normal post services?Kirsi
Melanie Boudar
@melanie-boudar
10/22/09 04:15:01AM
104 posts
I have bought chocolates on line from several places before I started my own website. I never had anything arrive damaged. On the other end, the shipping end, we have had maybe 1 or 2 boxes not arrive good, one was because the address they gave us was wrong. It came back beat up and melted after 10 days. We remembered the person was a doctor and googled his name and town, found the right address, called and shipped a new box despite it not being our mistake. We do a lot of on line business. Shipping is expensive, not just postage but also packing, gel ice etc. best to negociate a rate with Fed-X. I recently joined an organization that I will get 40% off Fed X rates so that savings will pass to the customer. We have shipped packages to 1/2 dozen foreign countries as well and it all went FED X and arrived fine.Not that many people live where there is a good selection of chocolate boutiques. In that case its still good to have an internet presence for your store. People may visit the area and want to send gifts home or buy later on.
SU
@su
10/22/09 04:17:56PM
18 posts
Living in CA, there were oodles of stores around, but living here in upstate NY is a very different situation. I've bought online, but only in 3-4 times in the last two years. I'll be back in CA come November so there's won't be a need in the future unless I need some French or Italian chocolate that I HAVE to have. There will come a time when I must have certain chocolatiers, but just polished off the last of my Paris chocolate from October 2008 and we just got back from Italy with $400 worth of chocs, so that'll last me.Online, I've bought from chocosphere (mixed box of bars I was interested in), LillieBelle Farms (zombie choc bunny for a friend's birthday), Chocolate by Cacao (box of pralines, to try out), and Richard Donnelly (box of bars). Shipping is generally prohibitive, but I'll do it in serious cases of need -- the Donnelly and chocosphere times were such cases. After trying the Chocolate by Cacao and not enjoying it, I decided no more experimental purchases unless I have excellent reviews from trusted sources (everything looks good online).What I've done for the last year is mix in chocolate shopping with all of my business and personal trips -- every visit yields additions to the chocolate fridge, that way I don't have to rely on the limited local selection. I'll definitely buy online again despite my CA move, there are some fantastic French & Italian chocolatiers that will be worth the cost (but only 1-2 times a year). I'll probably restrict my buying to international and try to scheme East Coast additions into my scheduled travel. For me, the more flush we get financially, the more likely I'll be to buy online, until then, however, I'll rely on the frequent traveling I do to fill in the blanks. Already have a wedding I'm scheduled to attend in Paris in the Spring, so no international buying necessary next year!
Jeff
@jeff
10/22/09 08:58:49PM
94 posts

The only ones I liked were Lillibelle's (Jeff is a member here) and they were the ones that were willing to ship USPS! No hassle!Blush......we try hard to please and only fail once in awhile...if you are shipping you should try to find the best way to ship to the country in question....recently we have shipped to:antarcticaalaskacanadachinaturkeyafganistaniraqdubaisaudi arabiafrnceenglandscotlandhollandall in the last 2 months.....all arrived safely.....some fedex, some ups, some usps....
Ilana
@ilana
10/23/09 06:52:01AM
97 posts
I did not know you shipped internationally! Long ago I think I asked you... Humph!! I will PM you later!
Jeff
@jeff
10/23/09 08:19:56AM
94 posts
our website does not, but we do....its all about the benjamins...
Ilana
@ilana
10/23/09 11:00:47AM
97 posts
Ok, so how do I contact you to do it? May I ask if you have ever been required to have an export license or something for any country? You don't have to answer, you can just ignore if you so desire!! What is the benjamins?! I guess an expression-I'll look it up.
Mathew P
@mathew-p
10/26/09 10:09:12AM
8 posts
If somebody here is interested in starting own online store, we can help you. We provide online shopping cart solution, please see our demo site http://www.pansyssoftware.com/chocolatestore/ Please contact sales@pansyssoftware.com for more details.Warm Wishes,Mathew
Dirke Botsford
@dirke-botsford
10/26/09 02:13:28PM
98 posts
I will be starting Ecole chocolat in January so I hope it is as good as everyone says, I'm sure it is. I hope your having fun! Online business is tough, I've had a few, not chocolate related. Shipping is usually been a deterrent as it's expensive. Best option is, from Canada anyways was to have a Nafta/Tax number for shipping though the USA to avoid delays. Personally I wouldn't buy something I would eat online unless it came highly recommended and be very special. Supplies sure, but I would be apprehensive about buying something edible. Although I will undoubtly have an online presence when I fully get into this world of chocolate making as I believe you kinda have to these days, it's expected. Just my two cents.
Linda Grishman
@linda-grishman
10/26/09 05:11:47PM
26 posts
Hi SU: Sorry to hear that your experiences in buying online from US chocolatier have not been happy. I couldn't agree with you more that although the chocs are beautiful online, they arrive tasting stale or even moldy. Not only that but the pictures are deceiving. The chocs are often minute and the weight of the box ordered isn't on the website either. I do a certain amount of purchasing online as I host chocolate tastings and we like to see what the others are doing. Some of those supposed great chocolatiers who purport to sell "freshly made" chocolates are misleading their customers. They were made fresh six months ago, but are sitting on shelves. One in particular and I wish I could mention his name, was so stale and inedible that I had to send them back. The person on the phone apologized saying "they probably forgot to rotate stock" and there you have it. We sell mostly wholesale and that's only our bars, maple brittle, chocolate covered maple brittle and caramels fleur de sel. The more delicate and short shelf life chocolates are sold retail via our website. We really do make everything fresh to order. Even if our customers have to wait a little longer, they know that what they will get is the best and the freshest. And we ship via the US Mail when our chocolates are going out west since it only takes 2-3 business days and UPS when shipping takes no more than 3 business days. We ship worldwide including Canada, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Belgium, UK, Israel and even Antarctica. www.sweetonvermont.com Linda
SU
@su
10/27/09 12:43:24PM
18 posts
Actually, I'm not against buying food online. I did have one bad experience, but that was in the nature of an experiment anyway (and the issue was sugar content, not freshness). The trusted sources I've bought from -- Donnelly and chocosphere -- were great and I had no problems. Jeff at Lilliebelle went out of his way to make my experience good (had to do a second bunny 'cause the first came during a freak non-seasonal heat wave). I definitely recommend buying online, but I restrict it to people whose chocolate I've already tried.In fact, I've expanded the types of food I would buy online. When my hub & I got hitched someone gave us a Williams & Sonoma gift card and we bought nothing but food. Their cookies & frozen croissants were amazing. We loved every single thing! I've been ogling the food on foodzie.com lately, but my online purchasing constraint is financial (damn start-up invisible paychecks!). I think it's completely workable if you don't have direct access to the high level desserts or chocolates you crave.
Kirsi Hyytiäinen
@kirsi-hyytiinen
10/28/09 02:58:07PM
7 posts
Hi Dirke, the future colleague!Congrats for your decision on the Ecole Chocolat. I don't know your background but for me the school is lot of work as I don't come from the branche. We have to create our own chocolates and research a lot on the issue so I do not manage to fulfill it in one hour per day. But it's a joy every minute and the tutors take their work very seriously: you'll get good advice and tips.
Molly Drexelius
@molly-drexelius
01/12/10 11:54:12AM
16 posts
Hi Melanie,I see that you joined an org to get 40% off FedX rates -- what is this org?Would love to check it out.Thanks!
Molly Drexelius
@molly-drexelius
01/12/10 12:02:33PM
16 posts
Hi Kirsi,I have bought online through many places and found the results to be satisfactory -- the chocolate arrives in decent condition -- i haven't had melting issues except once -- postal costs are another issue -- i live in CA and shipping during warmer months can mean a good part of the yeari have been selling online for over three years -- shipping costs are a constant for my business and i am continually checking for ways to reduce this cost for myself and my customershope this helps!Molly

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