(Image courtesy of Dark Secret Chocolate)
Believe it or not, chocolate is a healthy super-food, as long as you choose wisely. Dark chocolate is made with cacao, which has more antioxidants than any other food. Antioxidants are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and slow the effects of aging.
Susan and Steve Pitkin completed the nutritional analysis for DARK SECRET® chocolate. Because devoted customers were telling them how they wanted to watch calories and sugar intake. Based on lab results, they realized their dark chocolate could be packaged as a health-conscious daily treat.
Oprah loved Dark Secret Chocolate so much that she selected it for “Oprah’s Favorite Things / Holiday Gift Guide” in her magazine as well as featured on her popular Holiday Give-away television show in 2012.
We had a chance to talk with Steve and learn more about this successful chocolate business.
Tell us a little about your business.
“We have two brands – DARK SECRET® chocolate and CACAOCUVÉE.
“At www.darksecretchocolate.com, we offer 2 pieces individually wrapped and portioned for each day of the week. We make five varieties and each piece is 45 calories or less. CACAOCUVÉE means small-batch chocolate, and we create artisan truffle chocolates, caramels and other products that are made specifically for our customer’s order.”
Being on Oprah is a huge honor. How did you handle the shipping?
“Before being contacted by the Oprah show, our shipping was a laborious and inefficient process. When we found out we were selected for ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things,’ we knew we had to have a shipping system implemented before the media release.
“We called our UPS representative who is also a personal friend, and she created an amazing SWAT team for fulfillment. Her go-to recommendation was ShipWorks. Because of ShipWorks, we were able to seamlessly process and ship our daily orders on time. We never would have shipped all the orders we received without ShipWorks.”
What’s shipping like with ShipWorks?
“I’m continually impressed at how ShipWorks improves the workflow process. It eliminates the potential for human error. Most of us are trying to multi-task, and that’s when errors are likely to occur. The ShipWorks interface creates an efficient workflow and we are not concerned about making clerical errors.”
Is it challenging to ship artisan Chocolate?
“Yes. Our chocolates are very sensitive to temperature changes. When they leave our shop the chocolates are at room temperature and we want them to stay that way throughout shipping. We use gel packs, foil and bubble wrap to improve the insulation quality as much as possible. In some cases, there is more weight in protecting the product than in the product itself.”
What advice do you have for someone starting an ecommerce business?
“Top quality shipping service is critical if you want repeat business. When you sell online, shipping is a tangible way to interact with your valued customer. If you were starting a restaurant, you would make sure your servers would be trained to interact with your customers in a professional manner. Since you’re selling online and you don’t see your customer, shipping and communication are how you interact directly with your customers.
“Shipping is so important, and you have to have an awesome delivery system if you want your customers to have a great experience.”