What bakery shoppers see, smell and hear affects what they decide to buy. Industry statistics show that 60% of food quality perception is based on the store environment.

But in today’s ever-changing retail world, which is facing stiff competition from the continuous surge of online shopping, it is more imperative than ever to put your best image forward to create a memorable experience for customers inside your retail stores.

One useful strategy that gets overlooked involves swapping out select items in your display cases throughout the day. Adjusting your product presentation to the occasion — breakfast, lunch, snacking, dinner, late-night treats — can do wonders for triggering higher impulse sales, a critical key to success in fresh bakery.

Be sure to invest in the top display cases your operation can afford. Skimping on costs here can damage your image and convince certain shoppers that your products are not worth the price.

“It’s all about freshness. Keeping the products fresh with the right technology and making sure they look fresh with the right lighting,” Luc Imberechts, owner of Bakon USA Food Equipment, told Bake magazine, a sister publication to Supermarket Perimeter. “An OCF display is beautifully built with high quality materials but, in fact, puts the focus on the products inside 
the case.”

Engineered with patented lighting and food preservation technology, OCF displays provide operators with a reliable solution for quality and visually appealing presentation. The measured impact of effective food presentations is a 25% and higher increase in impulse sales, according to Bakon USA Food Equipment. 


Display ideas

For traditional store shoppers, there are a wide range of strategies you can employ in your store to maximize impulse sales. According to Structural Concepts Corporation, the following are helpful store design tips:

  • A black interior makes your case disappear and your fresh, colorful products pop.
  • Create a colorful border around your fresh products using larger platters.
  • Tiered glass shelving allows maximum visibility on every level.
  • Adjust shelves to accommodate a variety of merchandise and to add visual interest.



Unplanned pies

Unless certain holiday seasons are around the corner, most consumers don’t usually walk into a grocery store with pie on their shopping lists. Pie is an impulse purchase.

So, a creative approach is key when it comes to stopping shopping carts. For example, St. Louis-based Schnucks stores developed a marketing display for Rocky Mountain Pies that incorporated bright colors, easy visual access and a tagline that read, “We only have pies for you.”

Bakeries can come alongside retailers in this process, too.

“Our biggest opportunity to grow sales from a retail level is January through September,” says Par Grandinetti, president, Rocky Mountain Pies, Salt Lake City. “Pies are not easy for stores to retail, so our challenge is to make it easier for them so we all win.”

Instead of expecting retailers to build a display, Rocky Mountain Pies does the work by adding creativity to the packaging, increasing the visual appeal of its products. The bakery’s Red, White and Blue Pie has different sections of cherry, apples and berry and is packed in an American flag box to drive home the theme.

Rocky Mountain Pies also has hand-laid lattice fruit pies and uses that design as a point of differentiation.

“Hand-laid lattice pies like grandma used to make are pretty hard to do in a manufacturing arena, but we slow our lines down and take the extra time,” Grandinetti says. “A hand-laid lattice fruit pie is where you get to see this creativity and this great fruit coming through the lattice strips.”

Greg Menke, chief executive officer of Something Sweet, New Haven, Conn., added, “Feedback from in-store bakery buyers is that a key to catching a consumer’s eye is less label and more pie.”

Many retailers are doing this by shifting from a traditional cardboard box display to a plastic base-and-dome or a clear plastic clamshell container. Although boxes can be stacked and grabbed more easily, the clear plastic displays give consumers better visual access.

“Buyers like packaging that showcases the product by highlighting the attractive visual attributes of the pie,” he says. “Capturing the consumer’s attention is critical in a category dominated by impulse buys.”

Eric Richard, education coordinator, International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, emphasized the importance of where pies are merchandized in retail, particularly during off-season months.

“Merchandising extends beyond the instore bakery,” he says. “Pies can be merchandized in the deli or prepared food departments as a dessert option for someone looking to put together a meal for the evening.”

Social media also makes a difference and lets consumers see products before they get to the store.

“With people taking pictures of their food and posting it on everything, I think that expands minds a little bit and allows them to think differently about pie,” Grandinetti says. “They might be a little more willing to try something they may not have tried before just because they’ve seen it on Instagram.”


What drives impulse buys?

56%        sales and lower prices

46%        curiosity about a new item

33%        new flavors

31%         available samples

20%        instore displays


Slow shoppers spend more


30- to 40-minute shopping trips average a $72 cart total


Trips 3 hours or longer average $200


Supermarkets standout in snacking

According to Dawn Foods research, supermarkets — and especially supermarket bakeries — are a prime destination when it comes to afternoon snacks and snacking in general.

54% of afternoon snacks are purchased in the grocery store

42% of consumers say instore bakeries are good for indulgent or interesting snacks


Take action

Give out samples

Shoppers who try new or special promotion items are more likely to make a purchase they didn’t originally plan on.

Spread out

Don’t confine your special bakery items to the bakery itself. Displays near the front of the store can attract shoppers as they walk though the doors and also those who are checking their shopping lists one last time before checkout.

Help shoppers stick around

The longer shoppers hang around the bakery department, the more likely they are to buy something. Set up a baking or decorating demonstration to encourage them to stick around and sample what’s being made.

Offer a solution

Make sure shoppers see your baked goods as more than a treat. The right creative display showcases a pastry as a meal alternative for time-starved shoppers. Bread becomes and easy side to a prepared meal and small desserts give shoppers the change to sample new flavors without having to buy a full cake.

Showcase (and create) trends

You can create interest with consumers by putting hot trends front-and-center. Ethnic desserts and concession-style foods can offer high potential with shoppers looking for snacks and treats.

SOURCE: Dawn Foods