Simone Faure of St. Louis pastry shop La Patisserie Chouquette shares valuable words of wisdom about how retail bakers can expand their business in the year ahead. “Online sales are by far the better way to expand, and bakers are in a unique situation where we can do that,” says Faure, who launched a successful Macaron of the Month Club as an online outlet for selling La Patisserie Chouquette’s popular French macarons, which come in many unusual flavors. “Thanks to social media, we have a larger audience outside St. Louis.”
Monthly subscription services are paving the way for a host of online businesses to succeed, and the retail bakery universe is just starting to scratch the surface of the possibilities. An increasing number of retail bakeries across the country have introduced online ordering on their websites, but monthly subscription services are few and far between. Experts say a monthly subscription is a savvy marketing tool because it drives brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
The popular website Goldbelly promotes a monthly cake subscription for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, at a cost of $59 per month, with free shipping. Customers will receive hand-selected cakes (layer cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, crispy cakes and more) on a monthly basis from the “nation’s most beloved bakeries.” Each box sent to subscribers will serve 8-12 people.
Faure says they try to keep it simple for customers who subscribe to their Macaron of the Month Club, which costs $90 for three months, $180 for six months and $330 for one year. Prices include shipping. The subscription features a box of six signature French macarons, including a limited-edition, members-only flavor.
Flavors rotate daily and are subject to availability. Current flavors include Vietnamese Coffee, Sweet Honey and Black Raspberry, Marie-Wedding Cake, Pink Champagne, Salted Caramel, Birthday Cake, Bananas Foster, Cotton Candy, Cherry Pistachio Lime, Sangria, Tiramisu, Cheeto, Mochtella and Bey Lemonade.
“We work with the post office and have a work station in our bakery, so we can do an assembly line,” Faure says of how the macarons are packed and shipped. “It’s important to offer choices to the customer that are reasonable without too much customization. We are very clear about what the product is and how it’s going to look when they receive their box in the mail.”
Sprinkles Cupcakes now offers subscriptions to its Sprinkles of the Month Club. Each month brings new seasonal cupcakes to the recipient, such as Irish Chocolate during St. Patrick’s Day in March, Key Lime during the heart of the summer, or a Christmas Joy Box during the holidays. Additionally, the first delivery comes with a Sprinkles Cupcake Tray which can be used to display and serve each subsequent delivery.
Another business doing subscriptions is Dana’s Bakery, which specializes in macaron delivery. The New York bakery will deliver boxes of a dozen French macarons in classic American flavors like S’mores, Chocolate Molten, Cookie Dough, Fruity Cereal, Thin Mint, Orange Creamsicle, Birthday Cake, Key Lime Pie, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cafe Mocha, Red Velvet, and a flavor of the month.