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When it comes to bakery items, there are very few rules that consumers abide by. Today’s consumers will eat breakfast foods for dinner and snack on bakery items all day, which shows they are willing to purchase bakery offerings during various dayparts.
With this in mind, convenience store retailers have the freedom to experiment with their offerings, which in turn has the potential to drive sales. The bakery case is an easy first step.
Beyond the breakfast rush, bakery cases tend to get glazed over by consumers, but there are simple ways to maximize the bakery case beyond breakfast and shift consumers’ perceptions about bakery products.
Here are three tips to generate bakery sales throughout the day:
1. Stock a Versatile Selection of Bakery Products
It is important for retailers to be strategic about adding new products to the bakery case. Retailers will need to try different things with their consumer base to learn what new products fit their purchasing behavior during various dayparts.
Getting consumers to seek purchases from the bakery case beyond the typical breakfast hours is not as simple as increasing the order on the currently stocked breakfast goods.
To expand into other dayparts, retailers should lose the expectation that consumers will choose a breakfast bakery item after breakfast, and instead add more traditional desserts like brownies, pie slices and cupcakes throughout the day.
However, for retailers who cannot afford to expand their bakery products completely, there are a few items that have the potential to fit into all dayparts. Pound cakes, corn muffins and blueberry muffins are typically more acceptable to consume anytime due to the all-day snacking mentality.
2. Over-Communicate & Promote During Different Dayparts
Retailers cannot expect consumers to notice that bakery items have been added to the bakery case past the breakfast hours. They must tell them through various forms of communication, such as signage on the bakery case itself, the store windows or at the register. This type of consistent promotion helps cue consumers to think about bakery items past breakfast and direct them to the foodservice area to make a purchase.
One way to promote at the register beyond signage is to suggest an add-on purchase to highlight certain products. It can be as simple as finding a connection to a consumer’s current purchase, such as: “Would you like to add a slice of pound cake to enjoy with your fountain beverage today?” This combination can give consumers that afternoon jolt and further instill that bakery items are not just for breakfast.
Another strategy is suggesting the consumer might like to purchase a product to enjoy later. Since many bakery products are individually wrapped, they are a perfect on-the-go, sweet treat — often handheld and easy to take out of the store. This simple suggestion can shift the consumer’s perception about the bakery case being a morning ritual to them seeking out individually wrapped treats to satisfy an afternoon or late-night sweet tooth.
3. Maintain & Execute the Bakery Case Program, Always
When a retailer decides to execute a bakery program beyond breakfast, they need to jump in with both feet. They must be consistent with the program and have a specific, designated place in the store for these items. To further instill a sense of routine, they must make the changeover from breakfast bakery products to dessert items at the same time every day. This consistency helps retailers train customers to known when a new variety of items will be made available.
Once both the location is set and consumers are trained, it is important for retailers to maintain the expectation by implementing the program. This can be accomplished by executing against the basic, fundamental food operation rules like constantly rotating stock so you don’t just leave one item in the bakery case, and keeping the case clean.
To increase purchases, retailers need to shift the consumer mindset to see the bakery case beyond breakfast. By focusing on how bakery items can be an indulgent mid-day to late-night snack, it’s important to find the right products that fit the all-day snacking trend. Retailers should also make consumers aware of new offerings through promotional messaging to cue them to think beyond breakfast, and then consistently maintain the bakery case program.
Taking these steps will help maximize the bakery case past breakfast hours, and should help increase purchases with new and existing customers.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.