By stockpiling your own data resources and complementing this information with research from outside your business, you can begin to gain a much better understanding of how best to respond to changes in market forces such as consumer consumption trends.

Another useful tool is having an “analytics dashboard” feature on your POS system. Massa points out the importance of knowing who owns and who controls your own POS data, and what format you can get this information anytime you need it. “You shouldn’t have to pay more for that,” he says.

Rewarding repeat customers
New tech tools also play a pivotal role in loyalty programs, one of the hidden gems for your business to mine valuable consumer data. Offer your customers a loyalty card to shop at your bakery, and you can start to collect relevant data that will help you understand their purchasing behaviors and what types of promotions will encourage them to spend more with you.

“The biggest motivation that has proven to drive customers to dine is reward of choice,” says Kara Walsh, chief marketing officer for Rewards Network, a marketing company that helps 11,000 restaurants and all major airlines fill more seats and build customer loyalty. “Giving them the right incentive will put them over the edge.”

Also a speaker at the May 19 session at NRA, Walsh advises food retailers to “think about the lens they are viewing the world and what affects their customers’ dining decisions.” Dining decisions are not linear, she points out. “You have to really dig to find the driving factors.”

For example, new research from Datassential defines 28 specific occasions when consumers choose to eat and drink. These occasions vary from lunch or dinner occasions to relaxing at home. Identifying and targeting specific products to each occasion can help increase your traffic and sales at your bakeries.

Work Lunch
Casual Lunch
Romantic Meal
Family Meal
Last Minute Dinner
Casual Dinner
Formal Dinner
Quick Bite
Dinner of the Way Home
Special Occasion
Morning Commute
Hanging with Friends
Social Gathering
Running Errands
Before an Event
Work Break
Impressing Someone
Cheap Bite
Food for Energy
With Co-workers After Work
Relaxing at Home
Girl’s Night Out
Guy’s Night Out
Weekend Breakfast
Road Trip

Consumers seek comfort and a break from their hectic lives when they shop the bakery. So it is vital to ensure your store experience matches – or better yet, exceeds – their expectations to develop valuable repeat customers.

A new study from Market Force Information reveals that “delighted consumers” shopping a food store are three times more likely to recommend the store than those who had an OK experience. “It’s only getting more difficult to attract and keep customers, and being adequate is no longer good enough,” says Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force.

Walsh of Rewards Network points out other key research findings that help shed valuable light on how to best use technology to target customers and earn their loyalty.

Learn now to deliver the right message at the right time and customers will flock to your store. And the benefit to you is that loyal customers spend 67 percent more on dining than repeat customers, she says.

Consumers are, without a doubt, migrating quickly to online reviews and search engines to find the best places to eat. Walsh says their research reveals that 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews from people they don’t even know.

One key in today’s mobile society is reaching customers through their mobile devices. According to Rewards Network, 45 percent of all emails are opened on a mobile device and 78 percent of users prefer email for messages. Further, 40 percent of all seated diners in North America last year originated their reservation from a mobile device.

“It’s extremely important,” Walsh says, “to be mobile optimized.”