One of the most valuable marketing and analytical tools at your bakery’s disposal is developing a loyalty program. You can build your customer database (and keep records you can search) by gathering email addresses through site registrations, online and app transactions and sweepstakes and promotions.

According to Brian Best, former vice president of digital marketing for Tropical Smoothie Café and current senior vice president of digital for Neighborly, this is key to acquiring customers and bringing them back.

“Loyalty programs are really the marriage to guest tracking, behavior tracking, guest insights and analytics. When you know where the customer is, you can change behaviors.”

Most of the top brands, both in the baking world and beyond, have used these programs to great success.

As part of its Sprinkles Perks program, Sprinkles Cupcakes has implemented an automatic rewards earning tool within Sprinkles NOW and the Sprinkles App, enabling consumers to earn points with each purchase. For every one dollar spent, they get five points. 300 points earns a free item.

Members also receive a free birthday cupcake, access to exclusive promotions and a quarterly VIP Signature Box of cupcakes.

Loyalty points or credit is a popular strategy for driving sales. Corner Bakery Café recently announced the debut of its new and improved loyalty program. Starting Tuesday, July 7, Corner Bakery Rewards members could earn rewards for ordering catering or in-store, online or through the new Corner Bakery App, for pickup or delivery.

The bakery-café chain’s loyalty program is on a tiered system, so the more points members earn, the more rewards they unlock. New members also receive $5 off their next purchase when they join. For every $1 spent in-store, online or on the App, members will receive five points toward unlocking the next membership tier, with exclusive membership benefits for each tier, such as a free sweet on their birthday.

“Our new rewards program gives two ways to earn when you enjoy Corner Bakery and offers guests the ability to order online for pick up or delivery, earn rewards with each delicious order and unlock membership benefits,” says Donna Josephson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Corner Bakery. “We are excited to offer an enhanced Corner Bakery experience for our guests while rewarding them for their loyalty.”

Insomnia Cookies even created a special day for its loyalty members. To show appreciation to its “Insomniacs”, the warm cookie delivery chain hosted its first ever Insomniac Day earlier this year.

All Insomnia Cookies locations celebrated their loyalty members with exclusive one-day only deals including free delivery and 4X loyalty points earned all day long. Additionally, members received $6 six-packs and $12 twelve-packs in-store when they show their loyalty account from 9 p.m. to close.

The key for bakery cafes moving forward is flexibility. Customers have individual needs, and companies must be flexible to understand what their loyal shoppers expect. Implementing tools to satisfy those needs remains as important as ever.