Just about every business succeeds as a result of superior merchandise. Whether it’s the product or service itself or a superior product that partly results from operations efficiencies or culture.
Marketing can certainly play a role. It can play a large role. But marketing is more likely to succeed when the product is better.
For local bakeries, products make the biggest difference. But let’s say that you have great products. Not just better than another bakery in your area, but better than all other food options as well.
But you’re still struggling with sales… Here are some tips that may help.
#1. Local Events
Most communities, large and small, have something going on during the weekends. Little events, big events, all kinds of things. These are great opportunities for small businesses to gain exposure.
Bakeries can be at a little advantage at these events because most people love food. You can offer free samples or discounted samples as a way to get people to your booth or area.
You could also offer your products as a way to help raise money for the event. Many times these are for charity. Maybe not all of the income, but the profits.
With local businesses.
Getting attention in the area can be difficult. Other businesses likely have customers from the area. If you’re looking to get exposure to those customers then it’s important to figure out a way to partner with those other businesses. Partnerships that are good for them.
One idea might be offering your products at a local auto shop. Delivering some donuts every morning or a few certain mornings each week. Or having the owner or manager stop in and grab the day’s supply.
It doesn’t have to be a full product. Maybe a small sample that you can give to their customers in exchange for those customers knowing where the samples came from.
And maybe it’s free for a few months. Then discounted to help cover your costs.
#3. Product Testing
Try the 80/20 rule. 80% popular products. 20% experiments.
This gets back to the importance of your products. Many successful companies use this rule as a way to sell what’s selling while always looking for the next big product.
The experiments also provide a great pull for customers to keep coming back. The experiments won’t always be winners, but once in awhile you will hit on something that can become a new main product.
Craft brewers use this model well. They sell mostly the staple beers, but are always experimenting. It keeps customers coming back to try the new things and sometimes they hit on the next beer that will be a perennial seller.
#4. Text Marketing
Specials, new products, last-minute sales, etc.
Text marketing has been around for awhile, but seems to be reaching a peak with consumers right now.
Back when email started gaining mainstream access in the early 2000s, people would open up just about every message they received.
That’s similar to what texting is now. And people are more open to receiving texts from businesses. The key is the opt-in and opt-out option.
Offer customers that walk in the option of getting marketing texts from you. Then use the list to send alerts for those specials, new products and last minute events.
Say it’s 11:00 AM and you haven’t quite sold all the breakfast sandwiches that you thought you would. Send out a text that you have those for sale for 50% off on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Do the same thing when you’re trying a new type of bread for the weekend or if you’re offering a special on a new cupcake blend.
#5. Free Samples
The best form of marketing is probably always going to be giving away your product for free. You get the most bang for your buck because you are only losing the cost of the product…and your time.
And it gets right to the heart of what you’re trying to sell. You’re offering potential customers the opportunity to try before they buy.
Try creating products that are mini versions of what you’re selling. Try giving away a certain number of new products.
There is a reason this has worked for decades for grocery stores and for countless other businesses.
Local bakeries have been seeing a little comeback. Mostly that’s because they offer great products that customers can’t get at the fast food joints or at the local grocery stores.
But there are other ways to boost sales and hopefully these ideas can spark some growth for your bakery.