Unique Gift Baskets

Unique Gift Baskets

November 10, 2010 11:01 ET

Unique Gift Baskets: 10 Tips for Purchasing Gift Baskets

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 10, 2010) - Unique Gift Baskets offers the following 10 tips that could save consumers time, money and disappointment when they are considering purchasing a gift basket from anywhere in the world. Ms. Faurot is an expert with several years experience in the Gift Basket Industry.

Faurot says: "Gift baskets can solve a multitude of gift-buying problems, but there are things to watch out for. For one thing, I discovered that - online at least - a picture is not worth a thousand words."

1) Many basket companies feature their best, idealized photo and offer a basket in different price ranges with no specific photo or list of contents that looks like the one you may be receiving or sending. For example, the photo may be a $150 basket and when you order on-line requesting a $59.95 basket, you will not be getting the one featured in the photo unless indicated.

2) Always ask if the gift basket company will be sending the basket/container exactly as shown in the photograph (many retailers present the best basket/container in their photos, yet do not carry them in stock). Studies have shown that recipients are most grateful for quality baskets/containers, and if the consumer is not ordering what they think you are selling, they might never know - and they also run the risk of disappointing their recipient. Request the measurements/dimensions of your finished product as you will have a sense of the actual size.

3) Only order from companies that actually feature a list of all the products contained in each basket. (Avoid ordering from companies that are not specific about the actual contents; brand and sometimes size of each product. Avoid ordering if the vendor is using words like "etc." or "and much more.") Consumers are entitled to know exactly what they are ordering - and one can't always tell from looking at a photograph.

4) Many pre-packaged, shrink -wrapped baskets in larger retail outlets are made months in advance and shipped from China. (Check with the retailer to find out where these are made prior to purchase. You may find the "Made in China" sticker on the bottom of each basket.) Freshness of product has been a concern of many consumers.

5) Avoid 1-800 numbers (third party order takers) that do not have a local phone number. Even franchise operations, do not always offer what they feature on their websites. Note that third party order takers use 'hands-on operators' or local gift basket companies to provide the products and services, but mark up the products anywhere from 20 – 50 per cent and they are not always reliable.

6) Always try to work with a company that has a 'human voice' and can offer personalized service.

7) Work with an established gift basket business wherever possible. Credibility is important and there are a lot of companies that have given retailers a 'bad reputation' due to inadequate service or by providing poor quality products. Real Testimonials are important, too.

8) Make sure the products offered are real 'grocery' size products ... and not samplers. For example, a consumer may see "Truffles" in a photo. The box looks large, yet it may only contain three little truffles inside. The same could apply to cookies, candies and other confectionery products.

9) You can feel confident with gift basket companies that are members of the Better Business Bureau - especially if they have an A + rating.

10) There are wholesale companies that specialize in creating small sampler packaging specially designed for the gift basket industry. The majority of their products are 'sampler sizes' and contain minimal pieces inside each box/bag. One could end up paying $100 for 10 "sampler size" contents that are valued at only $1 each.

Says Faurot, "If you follow these painless pointers, we guarantee you will get your money's worth when buying gift baskets from a 'hands on' gift basket specialist. Many of these same tips can also apply to many other industries, including flowers."

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