For retail bakeries moving forward, leveraging online tools is imperative for growth ahead.

Keely Siciliano of Dawn Foods explains that leveraging online tools and strategies should be an integral part of a baker’s business. For example, social media can help customers find your business and understand more about your product offerings before they even enter your store.

Instagram is particularly useful for featuring products as it’s such a visual medium and there are several options for showcasing content, including in-feed posts, Stories and most recently, Reels.

Additionally, having a website for your bakery is incredibly important for boosting sales, Siciliano explains. It’s valuable to have a website that offers a menu for customers to browse products before entering the store, or even give them an option to order online.

While it can be an investment to create a website at first, it will pay off in the end.

“It can’t be stressed enough how effective social media can be for reaching customers,” she emphasizes.

Time-sensitive post-types like Instagram Stories can help promote your bakery’s daily specials or LTOs. Social media pages create a sense of community—and that community needs to be nurtured and engaged within a two-way conversation.

Polls and requested feedback are great ways to engage followers, foster customer loyalty, and provide valuable consumer insight that can help influence everything from menu offerings to business hours, she says.

Also, don’t be afraid to engage in conversation with your followers—even if you encounter negative comments. This public discourse goes a long way with your customers and can even help showcase your bakery’s unique personality.

“Additionally, one of the most effective messaging tactics for maintaining customer loyalty is direct email marketing,” Siciliano shares. “In-store bakeries can offer customers the opportunity to sign-up for an email list to receive the bakery’s latest deals and announcements. I even recommend offering exclusive promotions and sneak peeks at new menus to encourage email signups and repeat customers.”