Running a successful bakery operation takes a lot more than just placing your baked goods in baskets, shelving units and wooden racks. A bakery operator must entice customers into their shop by using creative and eye-catching displays, get them to spend more with proper cross-merchandising, and provide the right products and level of service to get them to return again and again. This article will help bakery operators to engage all five senses of their customers resulting in more customers, more impulse sales and more repeat business.
1. Do your research
The best way to serve your customers is to know what they want. You need to communicate. Talk to your customers, take a survey, do an online poll, create a message board on your website or Facebook or Twitter account, or other social media tools. Ask them what they think of your products, what else they would like to see you offer, what you could be doing better, whether or not your staff is providing the best service. It is also important to research your competition so that you are always one step ahead of them. Selling the right mix of products will ensure you keep all your customers happy and coming back from more.
2. Create an eye-catching store-front display
A bakery's storefront window is the biggest key for drawing customers into the store. The window should feature a truly eye-catching display that can be seen from afar, and from all angles. If necessary, hire a professional merchandiser or window dresser to create something magnificent. Showcase your best-sellers and most visually appealing items. Consider using artificial food props in place of real items to prevent molding or stale items, or if your storefront window is too hot or too cold. Also consider using items typically used for baking such as large sacks of flour, rolling pints, sheaves of wheat and other props, as these will help convey the idea that your bakery makes everything from scratch.
3. Don't forget the inside
Inside the bakery, use nothing but the freshest ingredients and food items in your displays. Display bakery items such as bagels, baguettes, cookies and dessert bars using unique plates, dishes and rattan baskets set at different heights and depths. This can be achieved using props such as wooden boxes, metal cans, two-, three- or four-tiered plates, or risers. Use fresh fruits, fresh and dried flowers, in addition to ears of wheat and corn to add to your displays. Tilt the racks of your wood displays so that customers get a better view of the breads, pies and other items. Make your products visible are from every angle, and make sure that your displays get changed at least every 10 days.
4. Add bright colors
One of the most important factors in merchandising baked goods is the use of color. Since most breads and pastries tend to be the same shades of beige and brown, it is necessary to infuse more colors. This can be achieved by interspersing your colorful cakes and cookies throughout, as well as selling other items like candies and confectionary. Bowls of fresh fruits and vegetables can also add more vibrancy to your operation.
5. Keep them stocked up
There is nothing more depressing than walking into a bakery with few items in the display case, and one or two lonely buns lying in a bin. Make sure that your bakery is fully stocked at all times, and as you begin to sell of product, consider merging existing products into one or two baskets so that the baskets always look full. Make sure to have all your bestsellers and customer favorites in stock at all times.
6. Have fun with cross-merchandising
Cross-merchandising is a method of merchandising that helps to create impulse and additional sales. Whether your bakery is a sole operation or located in a grocery facility, a lot can be done to merchandise and sell your bakery items with other relevant products. Display specialty breads merchandised with the ingredients that were used to make the bread. Display fresh herbs near your herbed breads. Sell cans of soup next to sourdough loaves, candles and cake lifters near cakes, bottles of olive oil and vinegar next to your focaccia, or smoked salmon and cream cheese near bagels. Coffee is also a great cross-merchandising item for baked goods. The possibilities are endless, and the end result is an increase in sales.
7. Use scent marketing and samples
A bakery has a great advantage over other businesses in that the smell of freshly baked bread or freshly baked cookies is so powerful that it can instantly draw in otherwise unsuspecting customers. Place a fan in your kitchen to blow the scents from your kitchen into your store, keep your front doors open to let the scents waft into the streets, or pump the scent through your exhaust so that the scents can be smelled from miles away.
Give out free samples of your products so that customers have the opportunity to try your delicious goods. It's a great way to sell off excess products or to showcase new products to your customers.