Concepts for success: October 2012

Diane Chiasson
September 20, 2012
Written by Diane Chiasson
Here are six great ways to increase your sales by promoting your bakery and your brand by delving into selling merchandise.

Bakeries are the perfect business model for selling retail and promotional items. Not only will retail merchandising products enhance and strengthen your brand image, but they will also help to bring in extra profits.

As long as your merchandise is unique and interesting, many of your loyal customers will want to buy – so long as they know about it. The main thing that will help you succeed in selling retail merchandise is the visibility of the products and price, so make sure that you give customers a way to find out about these products. Ensure that your products are displayed prominently in your operation and on your website, and that the prices are reasonable and affordable. Set up a display case at the entrance of your operation, and use tent cards, signage, POP materials or even e-mail marketing to inform your customers of your new and exciting products.

There are almost no drawbacks to selling retail products. You will be able to create another stream of income, and each piece of merchandise that is purchased also acts as free advertising for your bakery.

And if none of your products sell, you can always give them away as gifts for upcoming promotions.

1. Gift card
Gift cards or gift certificates are must-haves. They are easy to make and easy to sell, especially during the holidays. Sales of gift cards are pure profit, as research has shown that nearly 25 per cent of gift cards never get used. Gift cards are also great for bringing new customers into your operation, as quite often, the recipient of the gift card has never visited your place. The majority of gift card users also end up spending much more than the value of their gift card, thereby increasing your average cheque.

2. T-shirts/clothing
Bakery operators can have a lot of fun with T-shirts, especially with funny logos, slogans, images and characters, especially if you use humorous puns or irony. T-shirts are also inexpensive to produce. Since kids probably make up a large part of your target market with cookies, cupcakes and other treats, be sure to create a separate line of fun and colourful T-shirts just for them.

3. Hats
While T-shirts and other types of clothing can be covered by jackets, your logo/slogan on a hat will always be prominently displayed. Hats are also inexpensive to produce and act as a great marketing tool. Ensure that you source good quality hats that fit well and are stylish so that customers will want to wear the hat.

4. iPhone cases
Phone cases are no longer used for protective purposes. They are now considered a fashion accessory, and people change their cases to match their outfits or to make a statement. Sell branded iPhone cases with funky designs and fun slogans targeted at the youth market.

5. Bakery toys
Kids love to create and cook, so the possibilities of bakery-related toys are endless. Create a collection of items where a new collectable is available for a limited time period each week/month so that you can draw repeat business, as the kids will want to purchase the entire collection.

6. Candy/confectionery
Consider selling bakery-themed lollipops, gummy pops, chocolate, packaged candy and other confectionary products labelled with your brand as souvenirs for kids (or adults) to take home. Since candy is fun and colourful, it would be easy to set up a large merchandising display to not only increase sales, but to attract kids as well.

7. Cookbooks
If your operation is well known for signature dishes, your customers may be interested in trying to recreate your dishes at home. Create a cookbook, but make sure not to include any of your trade secrets. Include simple dishes, or have your chef create specific recipes for the cookbook that are easy to understand and follow for the average home cook.


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.

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