Retail bakeries need to know certain strategies and tactics when implementing updates to enhance their website and online presence, particularly in our current digital age.

Dawn Foods recognizes that 2020 was a year filled with new learnings and challenges, explains Keely Siciliano, director of brand & digital marketing for Dawn.

“One lesson many businesses learned is that they do not need to rely only on face-to-face interactions to get business done,” she shares. “Going online does not mean being out of touch with customers. On the contrary, connecting digitally can often make customers feel closer to your brand.”

One way to enhance your digital presence is by incorporating a digital menu and online ordering into your website. This makes it easier for customers to connect with your business and access your menu, and enables them to order anytime and anywhere, Siciliano says.

Additionally, offering things like coupons, updates on daily features, or seasonal specials can improve customer experience and drive sales.

So, what types of messaging and other content work best when communicating online through your website with customers?

“Consumers find you online because of an initial need—what products are sold? Is this bakery open today? How much does a wedding cake cost? And that visit sets the tone for future interactions online with your business,” Siciliano explains. “It’s important to put your best foot forward and ensure you’re at least sharing the essential information a consumer needs to know.”

Before investing in new tools and technology for your website, keep in mind the power of simplicity, she adds. It’s OK and better in many cases to focus your content on what you do best.

For example, if customers love your decorating skills, celebrate that by showcasing differently decorated products on your site. If customers love your flavor varieties, think about how you can highlight and promote new, unique flavors on your website and digital menu. By leaning into what people love most about your business, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Video and audio also play an important role.

“Content that goes beyond text will naturally receive more engagement online,” Siciliano shares. “For example, Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes visual content in users’ newsfeeds over posts with just text. Thankfully, bakers have plenty of content to work with.”

For example, consider posting a video on your social media channels of baked goods coming out of the oven in the morning to show customers that your products are freshly made and ready to order, Siciliano suggests. Beyond finished products, you can also take customers virtually behind-the-counter with videos of you or your team experimenting with unique ingredients, decorating cakes, or using baking tools to help bring products to life.

If you’re on a budget, there are still things you can do to improve your web presence.

“One idea to easily improve your web presence is to integrate your website with your social media channels and vice versa,” Siciliano says. “You can do this by simply adding the link to your website in the bio or about section of your social media channels and ensure those same social channels are linked on your website. Many social media platforms offer website integration too, such as displaying your Instagram photos or latest tweets - as they are posted - on whatever part of your website you choose.”

Also, with more people than ever searching for information via their cell phones, it is important to ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Having a website that is mobile-friendly will help with your website’s rankings in search engines like Google, which use mobile-friendliness as a factor when pulling search results for users, Siciliano says.

Lastly, do not underestimate the power of search engines for local businesses. Google My Business is a free service that allows local business owners to claim their location’s profile and add contact information, menus, pricing, hours, and other content, she points out. These are the first results a consumer will see when searching for a local business, so ensuring your content is complete and up to date will give your bakery more exposure and improve sales.