Many processors are very successful marketing gift boxes. Everyone seems to enjoy receiving a gift of a tasty food item and gift boxes have become a popular Christmas gift. There are several things you need to decide concerning marketing gift boxes—what is going to be in the gift box, who are your potential customers and how are you going to market your gift boxes.

Remember that when you sell a gift box you are selling both the products in the gift box and their presentation. It is very important that when someone receives a gift box, one of the first things they say is “this sure looks good.” Spend a little extra effort and money on your packaging materials to make sure your gift boxes look special.  Consider including a few loose candies or mints in each box to give it a bright festive look.  Some people package their gift boxes in actual boxes while others package them in baskets or some other style of specialty container.

You must decide if your gift boxes will contain only your products or a combination of your products plus other specialty products. Cheeses, jams, jellies or sauces make nice additions to gift boxes that predominately feature meat products.  You must also decide if your gift boxes are going to contain all shelf-stable products or perishable products. You may want to offer both kinds of gift boxes; some with all shelf-stable items, which makes them excellent for shipping, and some with perishable items.

Both styles of gift boxes offer advantages to the processor. Gift boxes with all shelf-stable items can be prepared ahead of time enabling you to avoid a last minute rush. Gift boxes with perishable items allow you more flexibility in the products which you can include. It is also a good idea to offer gift boxes in a variety of price ranges so you can offer something to people who have different budgets. You don’t want to offer too many choices, because it can become difficult to maintain an inventory of the gift boxes or the supplies needed to create them.

A very important part of your gift box program is to decide to whom you are going to market your products and how you are going to market them. Gift boxes are typically marketed to two general groups; individuals or companies. Companies often purchase food gifts to give to either employees or customers. You can make a company’s gift giving easier by providing a service where you mail the gifts to recipients, or perhaps you could deliver them to a specified location at a certain time to assist the company with distribution of the gifts.

There are many different ways to solicit customers for your gift box program. You can do direct mailing to selected lists including your own customer list. You can often obtain lists of local businesses from Chamber of Commerce offices located in the area. You can do local radio spots or run ads in local papers. If you operate a retail sales area you have an excellent place to display your products to potential customers. Just don’t wait too long to start marketing your gift box program, as it seems like each year people are making their holiday gift decisions earlier and earlier.

Remember: When you prepare a gift box it is absolutely essential to “please the eyes first.”