Bakers Journal

Fresh Trends: October 2013

September 11, 2013
By Diane Chiasson

Here are six reasons loyalty programs will work for your bakery

Here are six reasons loyalty programs will work for your bakery

In this age of online deals, coupons and specials that flood our inboxes on a daily basis, how can you get customers to remain loyal to your bakery or get new customers to try your bakery?

Signing up for a daily deal offer can be costly, and does not necessarily mean that the coupon buyers will return to your store without another deal. It has been said that 80 per cent of your business comes from 20 per cent of your customers, so your bakery should focus on building relationships with that 20 per cent using incentives and rewards.


A loyalty rewards program is an ideal way to reward your customers, and also an attractive selling tool for new customers as well. Just ensure that the benefits are easily attainable and uncomplicated to use. Here are six ways to create loyalty programs that will help you retain customers, and keep them coming back for more.

1. Retain customers
A customer loyalty program will help you retain customers, which is the key to growing your business. Statistics show that over 25 per cent of customers say they are much more likely to shop at a business where they have a loyalty rewards card. Use a points system to sell slow-moving products or to attract customers to your bakery on off-peak days, and to encourage increased traffic and spending.

2. Get more traffic to your website
Encourage customers to visit your website to sign up for your loyalty program. Allow your customers to be able to track their points on your website, as well as download coupons, get rewards and read about your weekly specials and promotions. By making your website an interactive place where your customers can monitor their rewards, you will boost traffic to your website, and enhance your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at the same time. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, and ensure that your rewards are easily attainable.

3. Learn about your loyal customers
A loyalty program will also help you keep track of who your customers are and what they like. You will be able to track the number of your customers’ visits, their frequency, how much they spend and what they are buying. Armed with this type of information, your bakery will be able to put together a much more targeted marketing plan, and allow you to also establish a better relationship with your customers.

4. Increase communication
By increasing communication with your most loyal customers, you can drive repeat visits. Set up your loyalty program so that each and every time a customer visits your store, an e-mail is automatically sent to thank them for their visit. Or if a loyal customer has not visited your bakery in more than two weeks, an e-mail automatically gets sent out with a coupon for a free cupcake or 10 per cent discount. Constant communication will help keep your business in the minds of your customers, and keep them coming back.

5. Increase word-of-mouth activity
The best advertising for any business is strong word of mouth. Your loyal customers are sure to refer your bakery to their family and friends. Give them an incentive to make referrals by offering bonus points when they refer a friend to your bakery.

6. Make loyal members feel like VIPs
Make your loyal customers feel extra special by offering them exclusive invitations to special events held at your bakery such as the opportunity to taste new menu items, baking or cake decorating lessons from your baker, special recipes, or the chance to enter various contests. By making your customers feel like VIPs, you are also getting them to believe in and become involved in your brand.

Keep your loyalty program simple and the benefits clear. It will be a win-win for you and your customers.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 30 years. Contact her by e-mail at, or visit .

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