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A CXP Brief The Online Candy Store Experiment

BW Clifford, a third generation family owned candy store is on a solid growth curve providing consumers candy online.  The online candy store’s corporate name is BW Clifford Inc.  We opened the online candy store in late 2005 as an experiment to see if they could sell candy online.  The company started the store from the bottom up with a minimal investment of a few thousand dollars.  During its first full year of operations in 2006 they had annual sales of $70,000.  In 2007 the online store had sales of $120,000 for a 71% increase.  In 2008 sales through September are $132,000 with a projection using the current average sales model of $175,000 by year end.   Since its first year of operations sales have increased over 50% each year.

Growth is directly related to good customer relationships and solid advertising.   While the almost 70 year old brick and mortar store has multimillion dollar annual sales the online candy store was an unexpected surprise.  What makes it even more special is it has been designed, built and promoted solely by family members.  Owner, Ronald Bernstein says “When my son started the online store I never even expected a sale.  I remember saying what is a Google.  Now I can really see the potential of on line candy sales.  It not only offers online sales but brings in a lot of business to the main store.  We have picked up some solid accounts simply from having an online presence.”

The online candy store recently was upgrade to a new and state of the art release of shopping cart software.  Web Master Joel Bernstein the online sales lead for says “I am very excited about this new release of shopping cart software.  It was a tremendous amount of work converting from the old platform.  I am hopping that the new platform helps with our online presence so our candy product offerings will be even more visible to potential customers in the search engines.   The store also has a clean professional look and is easy to navigate.  The online candy store is designed to give the shopper an intuitive shopping tool in an effort to provide a positive candy shopping experience.”

The store has a tremendous offering of candy products ranging from chewing gum, hard candy, candy bars, sugar free candy and even gluten free candy.  We have a tremendous inventory of candy; popular products include Altoid Mints, Tic Tac Mints, Trident Gum, Eclipse Gum, Snickers Bars, Pay Day Bars and many other very popular products.  New candy products are continuously added to the store.  The company also sets very competitive price points.  In order to keep prices low we use a combination of vertical and horizontal supply chain and operational techniques to optimize operational efficiencies.  All website work is done in house to help keep costs down.

For a online store website development, maintenance and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are a major cost drivers.  All this work is done in house.  Since the skill set for this type of work is evolving through on the job training (OJT) it does limit the speed in which we can promote the business, add pictures improve product descriptions and “optimize the site for the search engines”.  However despite these limitations it does allow the company to save significant money in operation costs helping to keep prices down for the candy consumer.

The bottom line is, the online candy store experiment seems to be working and worth the effort.  Our aspirations are high and there are clear goals to be achieved that are ahead of us.

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Candy & Confectionery - Wholesale & Manufacturers in Morristown NJ

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