The growing trend of traditional sweet shops inspired entrepreneur Vanessa Clark to launch her award winning venture, ‘Sweetie Pie‘. But it didn’t stop there. Here she reveals how her website and shop have responded to what her customers want.

“Gob stoppers, dip dabs, bon bons… like most people I loved traditional sweets as a child. But it was only when I was researching my business plan that I noticed the rise in popularity of retro sweet shops and that the gap in my local Bristol high street could turn into a viable business.

My plan had always been to have a small retail shop with a larger, web based business. Sweetie Pie opened in 2009 in Bristol selling over 200 kinds of traditional sweets, and my website followed soon after.

I chose a website to help demonstrate that I’m a trusted business based in Britain. My online orders now come from all over the UK and are predicted to grow by 30% in the next year.

Reacting to a rise in consumer demand helped me establish my business, and here’s four more ways my business has grown by paying attention to trends:

1. Choosing the right products 

While I sell hundreds of types of sweets in my shop, there’s even more opportunity to develop my range online. I keep a close eye on my website analytics and Google’s search trends to make sure there aren’t any gaps. My website also gives me the opportunity to trial new seasonal ranges and types of gifts to see if there’s a demand.

2. Targeting corporate clients   

There’s been a real rise in businesses using personalised gifts for clients, events or internal and external marketing. And, based on the affection people have for retro sweets, I knew this was something I could take advantage of. I’ve made sure the corresponding products on my website are prominent and that the dedicated corporate page emphasises the service and personalisation available for orders.

3. Wedding opportunities with orders

The increase in popularity for quirky and personalised wedding favours is a great fit for retro sweets. Spotting areas to develop niche products has helped bring in bulk orders and get my business name out there through word of mouth. And developing my wedding favour range was all about researching what people were searching for online and giving them exactly what they need. With weddings there’s so much competition, so your website imagery is vital – straightaway customers need to imagine your product as the perfect part of their special day.

4. Emphasising British quality

The ‘buying British’ trend is only getting bigger, and traditional sweets and

Britishness go hand-in-hand. I represent this through my regional sweetshop award – displayed prominently online and proudly on my shop window. By choosing a for my website, potential customers know straightaway I’m a British business, and that my products are of great UK quality.

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