Making an impression in the digital age requires a different type of strategy for cake decorators and bakery marketers. Cake designs must be colorful and engaging to the eye so that the customer knows they are getting something genuinely unique.

Innovative cake designs at Hispanic bakeries in Houston reflect the changing times. Chocolate accents are everywhere on the tops of new cake designs, ranging from chocolate pieces shaped like chocolate straws or butterfly wings. Drip cakes, which show icing dripping down the side of the cake, are becoming even more popular and are featuring more color options such as pink and black on the same cake. Summer cakes now feature dollops of buttercream frosting in shapes that resemble scoops of ice cream.

Cake designers are pushing the envelope with eye-catching creations to appeal to today’s customers who want their special occasion cakes to reflect their personal style or capture a special interest (like a Mother’s Day with fondant decorations of a makeup case and makeup brushes on top).

It’s useful to know that consumers are finding your bakery increasingly through digital channels — either on a smart phone or home computer. That makes the need for having a strong website and social media presence all the more important to your bakery’s future success.

According to a 2018 Visa study of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the United States, 52% of consumers there were surveyed either search online or check the business website before visiting a new business. More than 60% prefer to be contacted through a digital channel, such as e-mail, website banners or a business’s website.

Yet less than half of SMBs conduct business online, according to the Visa study. This gap suggests that there are big opportunities for companies to utilize digital ways to capture revenue, stay in front of customers and save time and expenses on the daily tasks necessary to run businesses.

Two years ago, Arandas Bakery in Houston introduced an online ordering option on its company website, enabling customers to place custom cake orders and express cake orders online and then pick up and pay for their order in the store.

For online custom cake orders, customers now have the option to upload a photo of their desired cake design, so that Arandas cake designers have an accurate depiction to satisfy every customer’s needs.

Digital marketing has altered the marketing strategies that family-owned businesses like Arandas Bakery, founded in 1993, grew up on, says Judy Camarena, president of Arandas Franchises. But rather than be intimidated by new technology, Arandas Bakery is embracing it. The second-generation leadership at Arandas is adapting operations to enhance customer service to meet the needs of Houston’s increasingly diverse and technologically savvy population.

“Today, as the new leadership approaches a diverse population of 2.2 million residents in Houston, we stand prepared with a resume that we pledge to continue to nurture for our family name,” Camarena says.