As you might have guessed from the name, The Cocoa Exchange has a strong focus on chocolate. This makes it a food-related network marketing company and an interesting one at that.
Selling food through direct marketing doesn't normally work very well, as fresh food often has a short shelf life. Because of this, companies often focus on packaged mixes, herbs and spices, sauces, and similar products.
By focusing on chocolate instead, The Cocoa Exchange is taking an entirely different angle. The appeal is easy to see. Chocolate is always popular. Many people love the idea of chocolate that is of better quality or is more interesting than what can be found in local stores.
Chocolate also has clear advantages when it comes to making sales. For one thing, it is a consumable product. This aspect can help you to get repeat sales.
Chocolate is one of those products that will always sell, partly because it is a luxury. Industries like this tend to remain popular even when the economy is doing poorly, as people still need some special treats in their life.
Two Ways To Make Money With The Cocoa Exchange
The first way to make money through The Cocoa Exchange is exactly what you would expect – selling chocolate. Well, selling the products actually, as the product range from The Cocoa Exchange includes more than just chocolates.
The second approach is to build a team as well. Doing so allows you to earn based on their success, as well as your own. To talk about The Cocoa Exchange effectively, we're looking at both of these areas, along with the overall income potential of the company.
As the name suggests, The Cocoa Exchange is all about cocoa, mostly in the form of chocolate. The focus here isn’t on high flavanol dark chocolate or on chocolate that offers health benefits either, although there is a dark chocolate range on offer. Instead, the company is all about creating items that look and taste good.
The main aspect of this is simply high-quality chocolate, where there are multiple different flavors, fillings, and combinations. There is enough variety here that you’re likely to find at least some options that suit every taste preference.
There are also other products on offer. These include sauces and spices that make use of cocoa in some way, along with various desserts, snacks, and products you can use for mixology. I think the barbecue sauce looks pretty tasty, and I love the idea of grilling with chocolate-themed sauces.
Conceptually, the idea sounds like fun. People do get passionate about chocolate and many love the idea of treating themselves. What’s more, you’re selling something that is consumable. So, if you get customers that love the products, they’re likely to come back for more.
Now, in fairness, chocolate isn’t uncommon and people have many choices out there. But, even then, the combination of choices here is unusual enough to get people interested. Additionally, many of the products are in small sizes, such as 7 pieces or 9 piece selections. The prices for these are reasonable enough that people would be willing to buy them simply on impulse.
As for the prices overall… they’re not brilliant but they’re not horrible either. In particular, you can find less expensive chocolate, especially if you shop around. And, many of the choices mean you’re paying around $2 for a single piece of chocolate, which is getting up there.
But, even so, boxes of chocolates aren’t that different in price and people are often willing to pay more for something that they really enjoy.
To me, the prices suggest that you should think about your audience carefully. If you want to make money through The Cocoa Exchange, you’d need to make sales. With that in mind, what would your friends and contacts think about the price points? Would they think that paying around $18 for 9 pieces of chocolate is okay for a treat – or would they consider that too extravagant?
If most of the people you know fall into the latter camp, then you are at a disadvantage right from the beginning. There is still the chance to make money but you would have to work harder to make sales.
The Dove Chocolate Connection
The Cocoa Exchange was initially called Dove Chocolate Discoveries and the company is still a part of Dove Chocolates. The reason for the name change isn’t clear but it is probably associated with marketing.
With that in mind, the chocolates that you’re selling are products from Dove Chocolates, even though they’re more upmarket than what you’d find at the grocery store. This means that many of the ingredients and the production standards will be similar.
One aspect of this is sustainability. Many people prefer to buy fair-trade chocolate and Dove doesn’t use this approach. Their dark chocolate is Rainforest Alliance Certified but that isn’t the same thing and doesn’t apply to the milk chocolate anyway.
Additionally, Dove Chocolates is sometimes viewed as a relatively inexpensive and low-quality chocolate brand, especially as they do have cheap chocolate bars. This may make it more difficult to make initial sales and to convince people to get involved.
Making Money By Selling The Chocolates
The Cocoa Exchange is basically Dove’s way of getting into the direct selling market. For the right audience, the products would also be extremely appealing, so it’s easy to see how you could make sales. But, does that translate into a viable business?
First of all, the basic commission rate with The Cocoa Exchange is 25% on sales and you can get up to 40%. The numbers here are fairly typical, although there are some companies that offer more, such as starting at 30% commission.
But, on the plus side, your sales come from customers making orders through you. That means you don’t have to buy products first and then try to resell them.
Additionally, you can actually get to 40% commission just with sales, which is fairly unusual (that's high!). For example, reaching $2,000 in sales per month results in an extra 5% (taking the total to 30%), while $3,000 takes the total to 35% and $4,000 takes it to 40%.
Being able to increase your commission with just sales is nice – although even the first tier of $2,000 in chocolate sales a month would be difficult to achieve in practice.
Even with these bonuses, the general idea is that you can earn a little bit of money (and some discounts) by just selling the products. I’ve seen MLM distributors choose to do this just as a way to offset the products that they want to buy. If that’s all you want, then the style works well enough.
On the other hand, if you’re hoping for a decent income, then you have to consider the other aspect of the company, which is recruitment. The idea here is that you get other people into the same opportunity and they aim to make sales and recruit as well.
When you do this, you start to earn money from the people in your team. This gives you between 3% and 5% commission on their sales, depending on the structure of your team and levels of success. As your team grows, so too does the income that you can make and there are various bonuses along the way.
Now, this is one of those ideas that sounds amazing on paper but doesn’t work so well in reality. Many people find that they struggle to even make consistent sales and recruiting tougher still.
There is also considerable competition. Think about how many chocolate brands there are out there. Sure, most of them don’t have the same parties that The Cocoa Exchange offers but those events would get gimmicky fast. Customers are often brand loyal with food as well, so some may simply not like Dove Chocolates or won’t be willing to give the items a try.
You would also be competing against other distributors, along with people from different MLMs. For example, there are multiple companies that sell food and cooking-related items, such as Tastefully Simple. Finally, if you do recruit people, some of them would be selling to the same audience that you’re trying to.
Ongoing Costs And Challenges
As MLMs go, The Cocoa Exchange does have advantages. After all, product selection would appeal to many people. There also aren’t many MLMs that sell chocolate and even fewer that focus on this product area entirely.
The available evidence also suggests that the company is legitimate and isn’t trying to scam anyone. There is also no excessive hype or wild claims about what the products can do, which is a nice change. Instead, you’re simply selling treats.
But, there’s always some risk involved. Part of that is simply that you need to build a successful team, which sounds much easier than it actually is. Another aspect is the cost.
Like many similar companies, The Cocoa Exchange works through a party model. The idea is that you host parties (or ‘experiences’) at the house of friends, who earn some rewards and discounts for doing so. The general approach works well for making sales, especially as potential customers get to try the various products.
But… the idea can also quickly get expensive. After all, you’re paying for any samples that people consume, along with anything else that gets used up during the event. This could get expensive fast, especially if you don’t make many sales.
Theoretically, you could charge people to attend an event. But, doing so is a catch-22, as it would probably decrease the number of people willing to go. And MLM distributors often find that getting people to turn up and make purchases is fairly tough anyway.
So, the costs of the parties could quickly add up. If your sales a high enough, this wouldn’t matter too much. But, if your sales were on the low end, then you could be spending more than you make, or close to it.
The parties aren’t the only cost either. You do also have to buy $250 of the product each month in addition to the $129 starter kit. That’s an excessive monthly requirement, higher than most other MLMs. Plus, what in the world would you do with $250 of chocolate and chocolate-related products each month?
I guess the concept is that you use these as samples at parties and the like – but that’s an expensive way to go about it all. And, if you didn’t hold many parties, you might be buying more products than you have a practical use for.
Finally, there is a minimum sales volume needed to stay active. That volume is $600 of personal sales, across a 6-month period. Now, that’s not an excessive amount of goal to reach. But, people often find that there are dry months in sales (such as just after the new year, when everyone is on a diet). When that happens, it’s easy to end up buying the products yourself, simply to meet those activity requirements.
This is another way where you can end up spending more than you make. When you combine this with the other costs, it’s easy to see how The Cocoa Exchange could quickly get expensive.