Understanding your customers is the key to running a successful bakery. The fact that their tastes and what they want from you evolve means that you need to constantly be working to improve what you have to offer. Here are some simple ways you can do exactly that.
Keep an eye out for current trends
Being the first bakery in the area to offer a new cake, bread or other product that is starting to become popular is an excellent way to stay ahead of your competitors. As well as delight your customers. Keeping an eye on these sources will make it easier to do that:
- Cooking shows
- The main cake and bakery channels on YouTube
- Your competitors, which means any store that sells bakery goods
- Popular food magazines and websites
- The things your customers ask for that you do not yet stock
- New lines your staff think you should be stocking; they are quite likely to notice some of the emerging trends before you do
Create a signature product
Take a product that already sells well in your area and see if you can improve on it. If you can pull this off people will flock to your bakery. You could also keep an eye on TikTok and YouTube to see which cakes people watch the most and use that to inspire you.
Keep pace with modern technology
Investigating and using innovative technology makes sense for any business. Right now, in countries like the UK and the USA, it is becoming difficult for retailers and food businesses to hire and retain staff.
Dealing with the public is not always easy. Nor, is getting up extremely early to bake the bread and cakes. As a result, people are not keen to take on these roles. According to a recent study conducted by the American Baker´s Association, this is also an issue for commercial bakers, who are having trouble filling over 50% of their positions.
Anything you can do to make things easier for your workers, to increase their productivity is worth investigating. You can find some great examples of new technology for bakeries here.
Regularly update your shop décor
Nobody wants to shop in or have a snack and a drink in a scruffy bakery. Every few months, deep clean the customer areas, paint out any scuff marks and regularly update your décor.
Keep your customers well informed
It is also worth considering installing a couple of digital screens. They will help to make your premises look more inviting. But their main benefit is the fact they make it really easy to keep your customers informed of your new products and services. The latest digital signage software for bakeries enables you to design and produce your own ads and posters. You can also use it to create a digital menu. They are extremely easy to update, so as the price of the ingredients changes you can quickly change what you charge. Or, set up a promotion or flash sale.
If you are allowed to set a sandwich board up outside your bakery, make it a digital one. These enable you to set a screen up to display ads, which you can use to catch the eye of passers-by.
They are highly effective marketing tools. Especially if you change the offers several times a day. For example, in the morning you might advertise takeaway coffee and snacks for people on their way to work or school. At lunchtime switch to offers relating to pasties and rolls or sandwiches if you sell them.
Find different outlets for your products
If you are an independent baker selling out of one shop, try to branch out a bit. There are lots of places and ways to sell or promote your bread, cakes, and pastries. Here are a few suggestions:
- Sell in bulk to local businesses that provide their workers with free drinks and snacks
- Offer a delivery service at lunchtime for places that are within easy traveling distance of your store
- Make a deal with a vending machine provider
- Run a food stall at events or local markets
- Sell online
- Give away small free samples to encourage people to try more of your range
Of course, not all of the above are suitable for every bakery. Plus, to implement them you are likely to have to invest some extra cash into extra staff, packaging, or equipment. But they are all effective ways of increasing your reach and giving new people a chance to try your products.
You should find that at least one or two of the above ideas work for you. Just don´t give up too soon, it can take a couple of months for a new line to take off.