Ambrosia Bakery rolled out an app for Android and Apple devices in the fall. The bakery hopes the app will help streamline order taking and ultimately grow its deli business.
Few things get Felix Sherman Jr. “fired up” like talking about Ambrosia Bakery’s app, which rolled out for Android and Apple devices on Oct. 29. The app currently has 1,600 downloads.
“We always wanted to be on the cutting edge of technology as a bakery, and when I was approached by somebody to do an app, I didn’t realize how easy it was to get started,” says Sherman, who is the marketing director and web manager for the Baton Rouge, La.-based retail bakery. “Customers are really jumping on board and I’m pretty fired up about that.”
The app allows customers to view product galleries, place online deli and bakery orders, upload their own photos, leave voice-recorded requests for the bakery, redeem loyalty cards and connect with the bakery on social media. The app also submits push notifications, alerting customers about deals and promotions.
The rollout took several months, as Sherman spent a lot of time working with the developer to ensure the app matched the website and worked seamlessly. “The bottom line was I wanted to make sure the app looked like our website, so I created the same header and image on the home page,” he says.
“Overall, we ran into a few issues so it took longer to launch the app than we originally thought.” The biggest challenge was getting approval from Apple, he says, noting that the majority of downloads since the app launched have been on Apple iPhones.
“Apple has really strict guidelines that you have to follow before an app can be approved for its store. We had to make changes and even the developer had to make changes to how the site worked.” Part of this process involved getting as many Android users as possible to download and test the app for navigation and ease of use, which also helped demonstrate that the app wouldn’t be stagnant once it was available in the Apple store.
Like the website, the app’s ordering system links to Sherman’s email and a wireless printer in the bakery, enabling them to process instantly with minimal margin for human error. “Anything we can do to ease the process of placing orders and communicatng with our customers is so much better. If I could tell you I’ve had 10 to 15 total errors over the three years we’ve done online orders, that would be a lot. But if I look at all the human errors that take place over the phone or at the window, it’s a daily routine. It really helps eliminate errors and mistakes.”
Sherman hopes that the app will ultimately grow the bakery’s deli business, but in the meantime, he’s enjoying the interactivity with customers.
“It keeps folks involved with the bakery on a regular basis. People send pictures to our ‘submit a photo’ section. One customer left a voice message asking if I could add our sausage biscuits to the app and website for online ordering. It never occurred to me to do that, and I just added them. That’s the kind of fun interaction and immediacy I like to see. And I think it’s going to only get better from here.”