Bakers Journal

Features Business and Operations
Wrapping it Up


November 29, 2007
By Michelle Brisebois

Topics

Good things come in all packages, writes marketing guru

30It’s shaping up to be another lucrative holiday season for retailers. Consumer spending continues to be strong, interest rates are low and so is unemployment. The only challenge for retailers will be getting noticed amongst an increasingly competitive market. We know that each Christmas, the proportion of money spent via Internet shopping and on gift cards has increased. This data sends a powerful message to retailers. It tells us that consumers want to simplify their shopping. No more wandering the aisles looking for the perfect widget for Uncle Harry, life's just too busy for that any more. Bakeries can best stay competitive by creating prepackaged gifting solutions for their customers. Don’t just sell individual products, sell themes and solutions. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you develop a holiday product portfolio:

Make it pretty
It’s all in the presentation. Now’s the time for you to purchase some premium boxes and ribbon to present your products as beautiful gifts. Consumers are generally less price sensitive when it’s a gift they’re purchasing, so you can build the cost of the packaging into the final price.

Source a local graphic artist and have some cards printed with your bakery logo. These can be attached with ribbon printed with “To:” and “From:” to make it a total gifting solution for your customers. One gift store I frequent packages their items in Chinese take-out boxes with beautiful white ribbon. Customers frequently show up at the door holding a box they’ve received as a gift saying “is this the place that uses these?” It’s become their calling card. These boxes would be perfect for presenting an assortment of baked goods.

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Create themes
Holiday shoppers don’t want to have to stand in front of a case of items and tell us which ones they want. They want a quick solution. They want to look at a gifting item and recognize that it would be perfect for Uncle Harry. Decide you’re going to focus on six to ten core offerings. Choose price points that start at the low end (say $5 – $10) and range up to $40 or so. You may call one collection “The Chocolate Fix” and pull together six or eight of your top-notch brownies, truffles and fudge. We all know people on our lists who consider chocolate a basic food group – a name like this would make that connection immediately. Why not play on the Twelve Days of Christmas theme by creating a “countdown package” with 12 small treats – one to be eaten each day prior to December 25th?

Promote
Invest in getting nice photos taken of your gift packages. You’ll be amazed at how effective it will be to create a small rack card (3.5” x 8.5”) featuring photos and descriptions of your holiday lineup. Rack cards can be inserted into newspapers, sent in the mail and popped into shopping bags of existing customers. If you have a website, display the gifts packs on your site with catchy descriptions. You can purchase programs very inexpensively that will allow you to create an e-newsletter to send to customers who’ve given you their e-mail address and permission to market to them. Chances are some will forward the newsletter onto friends and you’ll get a nice viral marketing effect for your efforts. Choose some newspapers or magazines to place an ad featuring your gifting solutions. Local newspapers are often very cost effective and well read because the news is very personal to the people living in that area (everybody likes to see pictures of their kids’ hockey team).

30aThink bigger
It’s less stressful and more lucrative for you to make ten $200 sales than two hundred $10 sales. Target a selection of other businesses around your bakery. Many of them would jump at the chance to give their valued clients a beautiful gift package. Companies often give employees a holiday gift, so make sure promote your product line as the perfect way to say thank you to both valued clients and staff. Financial planners, real estate agents and other small to medium businesses are the perfect targets for a gifting campaign. If you’ve developed that rack card I mentioned earlier, send it to your target companies along with a nice letter promoting the fact that your bakery can make their corporate gifting simple and lovely. Don’t use “To Whom it May Concern” as a greeting in the letter. Try to find out who is responsible for the corporate gifting (usually the executive assistant) and address the letter to them personally. Often these opportunities turn into repeat business the following year.

Holidays and baked goods go hand and hand. It is, however, a slightly different shift in thinking to start marketing your baked goods as a gifting solution rather than their traditional supporting role on the banquet table. You’ve got great products, now all you have to do is be innovative with your packaging and promotion. Besides, after receiving a stack of generic gift cards from other stores – all recipients this Christmas will thank you for giving them something to really sink their teeth into!

Michelle Brisebois is a marketing professional with experience in the food, pharmaceutical and financial services industries. She specializes in helping companies grow their brands. Michelle can be reached at OnTrend Strategies by e-mail at: briseboismichelle@sympatico.ca