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NATIONAL REPORT — A fresh bakery program in a convenience store is only as good as its visibility.
To ensure awareness among customers, an effective communication strategy should include signage in the store window, messaging at the pump and, perhaps most importantly, a well-thought-out and designed floor plan that gives customers easy access to the fresh bakery products.
Maurice P. Minno, principal of consulting firm MPM Group and board director for convenience store chain Maverik Inc., shared with Convenience Store News some tips on how retailers can create a fresh bakery brand that is visually attractive and authentically communicates “fresh bakery.”
He said retailers should use their fresh bakery brand as a sub-brand to their overall fresh foodservice brand and incorporate the physical design of the in-store bakery, communication posters and boards, use of beautiful bakery product photos, among other techniques, in telling the brand story.
The brand story should convey:
Quality Standards. For instance, that products baked today are sold today and not carried over; products are fresh from the oven; and store bakers and store employees know each of the products and can answer any customer questions.
Values. Demonstrating concern for customers’ nutritional needs; being mindful of the ingredients used.
Mission. Positioning yourself as a “specialty retailer” with a unique bakery brand.
Training. Initial and periodic recertification of baking skills. Plan and promote a calendar of baking skill competitions with awards for recognizing the best of the best bakers in the company.
Signature Products. Feature bakery products that are distinct and only available at this retailer’s stores and nowhere else in the marketplace.
Innovation. Create a robust and sustainable new bakery product innovation pipeline. Calendar the launch of each new bakery product on the annual promotional calendar.
Customer Demographics. Deliver products that resonate with the retailer’s customer demographics. This may include healthy products (whole grain, organic, gluten free), ethnic products (Latin sweet breads, pastelitos), and seasonal products (pumpkin in the fall, gingerbread in the winter).
Creative & Timely Limited-Time Offers. Limited-time offers (LTOs) drive interest, excitement and customer purchases, especially if the LTOs are effectively marketed in-store, via traditional retailer marketing and through all available social media venues. The consumers’ sense of the product’s scarcity and its limited availability are key LTO sales drivers.
Differentiation. Market differently than the other retailers with whom you compete. Prominently feature your fresh bakery brand story on your company website, and utilize all traditional marketing mediums as well as social media to drive buzz and customer traffic.
Editor’s note: Look in the May issue of Convenience Store News for more tips on successfully executing a fresh bakery program, including advice on branding, product mix and merchandising.