Dairy-Deli-Bake was atwitter with new merchandising and marketing concepts designed to keep connections with customers strong during economic hardship.
Merchandising has come a long way since Carol Christison, executive director of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), planned her first expo more than 25 years ago, and nowhere in the show is that more evident than the annual Show and Sell merchandising pavilion. What started as a few table top displays of products has blossomed into a show staple, a binding center around which the rest show of the floor tends to orbit. Merchandising has grown beyond cardboard displays and into a cerebral world of finely honed techniques to encourage sales.
At the recent Dairy-Deli-Bake expo multi-purposing and co-branding were the buzzwords for attendees at the merchandising pavilion.
“There's a lot more co-branding and new thinking for product usage and packaging,” Christison said. “Being able to multi-purpose or repurpose an item adds value for the supplier, the retailer and the consumer.”
For instance, clear plastic corsage boxes found a new calling as the cupcake craze slowly blanketed the country. The corsage boxes are perfect for displaying ornately designed, single-serve items. Several packaging companies have since addressed the cupcake trend, and now supply clamshell cases designed specifically for cupcakes.
Capturing customers' imagination
Merchandising can still be a straightforward venture. Bakery products are in a unique position in that they can stand on their own merits, as the combined appearance and aroma of a fresh cake or pastry are everything bakers need to provoke customers to buy. Baked products tend to do a great job of selling themselves.
But Christison was hearing a buzz about the need to “be ready” with new ideas and products when shoppers start buying again. The next big trend isn't about the most expensive or bigget item — it's about capturing the customer's imagination. That means staying one step ahead of your competition. This is no time to be passive. Bakeries need to hold onto their customers during the economic lull, so connections remain strong and the bakery will be prepared when consumers are ready to spend.
The most talked about methods of connecting with consumers were the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. These new media can build a lifeline between a bakery and its clientele during periods when consumers aren't doing much consuming. Many bakers are unsure how to harness the power of such new media, but the only way to understand what purpose these sites serve is to use them. Bakeries' younger employees often are untapped resources of capability with technology. They'll likely be willing to teach you if you are willing to learn.
For more images of Dairy-Deli-Bake 2009, please
go to www.modern-baking.com