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  • Vincent Bissette


At Propel we have been proud to help clients in the retail bakery industry grow over the past few years. We thought we should share some of what we have learned as a teaser for our new guide to marketing as a retail baker. For more tips be sure to download our full guide here!


Every business has an ideal customer. for a retail baker, this may be a businessman grabbing a coffee on the go, students coming in to have lunch and study or friends visiting to meet over a coffee and a cake.

Whoever your ideal customer is, if they aren't in your store, they are out there somewhere.

One of the most helpful activities we have found to do with our high-street based client's customer hunting. Go out with your mobile phone and visit all your potential direct and indirect competitors where your ideal customer may be. Once you find them, document the location. Take notes and photos and ask yourself with the least bias possible "what is that store doing correctly that is attracting this customer". Ask the customer if you are feeling bold enough.

Compare the photos to your store and aim to honestly identify the pros and cons of each. Is their storefront more closely aligned to the aesthetic tastes of this customer? Do they specialise in a particular product which is attractive to this customer? Are their staff closer to the demographics of this customer? Is this customer attracted by the comfortable sitting areas or are they more drawn in by their quick takeaway process?

Your goal here should be to create a comprehensive list of what works and what doesn't. Identify what your competition is doing to attract this customer and identify what you are doing better than them where applicable. This creates a vision for the future, a long-term strategy of how you can grow and improve to best attract your ideal customer. What's best is that it is based on relevant and tangible primary market research.


Pardon the pun but its often the case amongst traditional bakers that their audience has gone stale.

Having loyal customers is great but if you find that you are primarily appealing to an ageing demographic then your business inevitably has an expiration date.

You must make sure you are appealing to newer generations to ensure you have a stable stream of business going into the future.

We have included many ways to appeal to younger generations in our guide, however here are a couple of our favourites.

Update your brand image - Your brand image is everything you do, everything you say, how you look, from your logo to signage, to window graphics, to shop interiors, to advertising and marketing materials. Large businesses such as coca-cola and Starbucks will often make changes to their image every few years or so, whether this is an updated logo, a slight change in colour hue or a slightly more modern-looking typeface. All of this is done with the intention of keeping the brand image fresh and relevant to consumers. It is important to ensure your image is always appealing to newer generations of the customer, as these are the customers with the greatest purchasing power and potential for future business.

Improve your coffee offering - Bakers are currently losing a lot of potential market share to rising coffee shops such as Starbucks and Costa who weren't even on the radar a couple of decades ago. These days younger generations are much more likely to meet their friends for a coffee rather than a pint during the week and there is no reason bakeries should not be fulfilling this need. It’s reported that 84% of sweet bakery occasions include a drink and 60% of these are hot and younger generations expect more elaborate and artisan coffee offerings. Offering an improved selection of coffee will make your bakery more of a viable option for younger customers.

Meal deals - In 2017 Mintel reported that 76% of Brits are out to lunch with reports suggesting that 3% of consumers will partake in a meal deal at least twice a week. It is clear that there is a large demand for meal deals and students make up a significant portion of this market and it is worth every baker’s while to at least consider how they could incorporate this into their business structure.


Although bakeries will get their business from their physical stores it is important not to neglect social media as it is a great tool for building brand awareness, especially younger generations.

Platforms such as Instagram are a great place to connect with younger audiences. Who doesn’t love pictures of food? Seductive savoury products or fun cake creations are bound to go down a treat when they appear of timelines. content ideas can be things such as time-lapse videos of pastry masterpieces coming to be, contests giveaways, and pop culture related goods such as treats decorated with references to popular movies and TV shows.

Frequent social media posts can help improve brand awareness and recall and ensure your business is at the forefront of customers minds the next time they are asked: “Where do you want to get lunch?”.


Bakeries can grow their businesses by conducting market research to find their ideal customer. Ensuring their future by appealing to younger generations. Building brand awareness using social media.

If you want more guidance on how to:

  • Identify your ideal customers

  • Bring in more of your ideal customers

  • Increase footfall in your store

  • Increase your sales

  • Grow your turnover

  • Increase your average sale per customer

  • Build your brand awareness and recognition

  • Take market share from your competitors

  • Identify your barriers to growth as a retail bakery

  • Identify your most valuable assets and how to use them to your advantage

  • Make your bakery more profitable

About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.

Get in touch with him on Linkedin here

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