Concepts for success: October 2014

Diane Chiasson
September 15, 2014
Written by Diane Chiasson
People are more focused in their shopping habits these days. Here are five things you should know.

CONSUMER  
If you run a bakery, it is important to know your customers and track their spending habits.

 
The recent recession has changed the way today’s consumers shop and spend. Despite the fact that the economy is on an alleged upswing, more than one-third of consumers still feel they are in some kind of financial distress and are not willing to spend like they used to. Consumers are very focused on exactly what they buy and where they spend their hard-earned dollars – and they will not spend recklessly.

If you run a bakery, it is important to know your customers, track their spending habits, be on top of what consumers are looking for, and adjust your business accordingly in order to be successful.

Here’s a look at five ways average consumer spending habits are changing, and how these could affect the way you operate your bakery:

1. Poor customer service is a deal-breaker
In a recent poll of consumers with a higher-than-average annual income, 90 per cent of respondents said they would walk out of a store if they received bad service. Great customer service must be at the top of your list of priorities when it comes to customer retention. There is more competition out there than ever before, so if consumers don’t like the way they are being treated in your store, they can easily walk out the door and shop down the road.

2. Today’s consumer cares about the community
Consumers today are much more civic-minded and they care about their communities. People are much more willing to shop within their community to help out small businesses than shop at big-box retail stores. They are also willing to make a purchase if part of their spending is being donated to a charitable organization. It affords them a simple way to be charitable without having to get fully involved.

3. They are smart and savvy
With so much information available on the Internet, today’s consumers are more likely to be destination shoppers, make more considered purchases and do their homework before they head out to shop. They are able to compare prices, read reviews and get opinions on products online. When they walk into your bakery, they probably already have an idea about your signature products and price range. It is important for you to monitor what others are saying about your operation online and to consistently check what your competitors are doing so that you stay relevant.

4. They like new stuff
Today’s consumers are always looking for new things to try (new sensations, new products) and are willing to spend money on something if it offers them a novel experience. Make sure you renew and refresh your offerings at your bakery regularly – things like specials, guest chefs, custom breads, cakes and cookies, seasonal products, flavour profiles and new technologies. You might even consider opening pop-up locations at various places in your city to increase your visibility during festivals and events.

5. Consumers want to feel special
Today’s consumers are not as loyal as they used to be. There are a lot more options out there these days, which translates into much more competition for customers’ time and money. The one way for your bakery to create customer loyalty is by making your customers feel special. Even a simple gesture like remembering their names will make them feel like they have a unique connection to your bakery. Special perks and access to insider knowledge will also make them feel important and give them an opportunity to talk about your bakery with their family and friends. As we all know, word-of-mouth advertising never hurts! / BJ


Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, 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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