Energy bars are a busy executive’s dream in my view. I’m working overtime and don’t have time for a full meal, but I can get one in a concentrated form. Many of these bars have a bad rap as they used to taste quite awful (some still do), but Element Bars is changing all that as they let you design your own custom energy bar.
We face the following challenges:
1) It is difficult to sell a $3 bar in a down economy
2) We are a new category and broad advertising on Google and Facebook (“Energy Bars”) against large competitors is very expensive
3) We offer custom bars, but the minimum order is 12 bars. As an experience so far, most people would like to try before committing to 12 bars.
Full review found at the Sales Rescue Team site.
Broad advertising might be expensive, but is that really what you want? After all, you could customize entry pages into your cms offering suggestions to specific groups of visitors. That would enable you to advertise your bars as “powerbars for runners” or “the ultimate powerbar for rock climbers” etc. Targeting your audience closer will result in better returns on investment in advertising and will help you sell more.
Pricewise, you are right. $36 is expensive in everyone’s book. However, if economies of scale would apply to your manufacturing process, you could pre-produce a larger amount of popular bars in advance to lower the cost of those. That way you can have people try the top 5 at $24 and you could even add a 13th custom bar.
Another way to attract more buyers would be to add a social component to your site. I would love this and in the current internet economy, I believe a lot of others will as well. Adding a social aspect to your bars would enable people to share their bars with others and rate the bars they have purchased. Having them start groups on Facebook, MySpace etc. would help the social aspect as well.
More on Arne’s full review are at the Sales Rescue Team site.
Jeff Walters, at Strategy Outfitters, a successful entrepreneur and author/expert about brand communications offered his thoughts by email: He didn’t think it was a big indulgence at $36 vs similar wine products, which is a great point as the market probably has similar purchase behavior. Sampling before the customization could be good though.
He suggested they look into how to support resellers, if they could make that work.
I remember noticing the Free Sample badge at the very top, but a couple of people I sent to the site completely missed it, so I would recommend changing the color or making it more prominent.
Like Arne, I love this site and the configuration tool. A custom energy bar is a complete slam-dunk win from my perspective. And as I reread Arne’s review, I realize what a master he is at helping a company think through the best ways to reach a customer online and off. Thanks Arne.
I’m in the Seattle area which is completely in tune with gourmet foods and outdoor foods, so my top thought would be to pick a place like Seattle, or San Fran, or Boulder and hire two college students to hand out 1,000 bars at breakfast time rush hour at a busy intersection. A pre-packaged salad company (national co) just did this for a lunch giveaway at the Seattle Ferry terminal area and I’m sure they landed a lot of new sales out of it. If the bars as a giveaway is too expensive, either make them smaller samples OR have them hand out coupons for a discount maybe. Perhaps you could do it at a synergistic local food co-op.