I started CRAVEBOX in 2014. CRAVEBOX assembles and sells gift snack boxes and baskets. It’s September 2022 and we’ve recently gone through the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and are now dealing with inflation, and looming recession. It has been a difficult 2.5 years since the start of COVID but I’ve managed to increase sales and net profit significantly during that time. During difficult times, I’m convinced it’s critical to simplify your business and operation to become more efficient and focus on your core operation. I certainly worked to simplify CRAVEBOX and make it a stronger competitor in our very narrow niche of gift snack boxes. This strategy paid off as CRAVEBOX has become a better business while other businesses have struggled and this has resulted in a gain of market share. 3 ways I simplified CRAVEBOX throughout this time are: Decline Amazon Canada, Remove products with Low Sales, and Sell Truck.
Decline Amazon Canada
I’ve been selling in the US marketplace for 9 years and that’s where most of my focus has gone. But for a short period of time back in 2017, I tried to ship product to Europe to sell there. 6-months after starting that experiment, I stopped. I learned that the costs associated with shipping, taxes, and customs were too much and the profit margin wasn’t large enough to justify it. It was also a confusing, regulation-heavy process that was distracting me from my main US money-making market. Recently, I started to entertain the idea of selling in Canada since I figured the shipping would be less expensive than shipping overseas to Europe. I quickly learned that the costs and regulatory distractions were again, not worth it. As inflation mounted and consumer demand waned in early 2022, I decided to stop pursuing selling in Canada. This has been a great decision as I can focus purely on doing things well in the US. It’s important to stay focused to consistently beat competitors, especially when times are tough.
Remove Products with Low Sales
Throughout the past 2.5 years, since the pandemic began, I have been removing slow-selling products and often-times replacing them with new products to try. This has mildly simplified the business and also given me an opportunity to experiment with new products without making operations any more complicated. It has resulted in some very successful new products. This has been critical during these difficult economic times because many of my competitors have disappeared or have had difficulty maintaining quality, low prices, and in-stock rates. If I can operate better than them and introduce new products that buyers enjoy, CRAVEBOX will be sure to gain market share. Hostile business environments like a pandemic or inflation can be an opportunity if you respond more effectively than your competition.
Something small like selling our truck has brought further simplicity and efficiency to the CRAVEBOX operation. We used to use a box truck to pickup inventory when the supply chain was really backed up in 2021. Recently, the supply chain has improved, and we’ve found new, reliable suppliers, so it makes sense to sell the truck. Not only did CRAVEBOX make money directly by selling the truck, but it also now doesn’t need to have that insurance policy, doesn’t need to employ and manage a driver, and doesn’t need to pay for gas or maintenance. It was necessary to have this truck and the added complication and cost that came along with it for a certain period of time, but once it was unnecessary, it made sense to get rid of it. During difficult times, you need to think of every little thing and if it’s distracting you from working on your core business, find a way to remove it. stronger business.
About John Accardi
John Accardi is the founder and CEO of cravebox.com. CRAVEBOX assembles care packages and gift baskets to be sold online. John dropped out of a PhD program at Georgetown University in 2014 to start CRAVEBOX and he says it’s the best decision he ever made. CRAVEBOX is located in North Wales, PA and John lives in Manhattan. John likes to invest in stocks and rental real estate. When John’s not working, he enjoys sailing, playing guitar, and spending time with family.