On my way home from work, I usually go past an old bakery, where I sometimes buy bread for my family. Talking with the owners, I have discovered that this local artisanal business has an interesting marketing strategy, which could be a model for many artisanal and other types of businesses.
In this article we will study how a small and ancient artisanal business – which has a strong, traditional brand – was able to get up to date.
I will focus on three of the main reasons for the success of this business:
1) Awareness of its strengths
– A traditional brand
This bakery has produced and sold bread, focaccia and biscuits since 1959. It is a business which has continued over three generations of the same family, who have been aware of the value of their work. All the current owners work with great passion.
– The quality of their products
Produce quality has been achieved through long experience and by seeking out the best ingredients and suppliers. The owners have a direct and honest relationship with suppliers and this avoids the inefficiency of expensive intermediaries.
– Business organization.
Great care has been taken over every aspect of the business organization, such as night shifts and optimizing production processes to avoid shortcomings in the production and distribution chains.
– Customer care
Client perception of product quality is high also due to the people skills of the shop assistants
– Harmony between owners and employees
Sometimes, it is hard for families to work well in business, especially over the longer term. The owners have been able to manage astutely a well-structured network of stakeholders in order to achieve a common target of working harmoniously, yet with passion, and with the aim of satisfying every customer.
The second factor in the bakery’s success that I have discovered is:
– Innovative products
The owners have created new products to satisfy the requirements of different customers, using both old and new machinery, and not forgetting the essential contribution of skilful craftsmanship.
– Complementary products.
By placing other food products (such as wine and pickles) alongside their own baked products, customers can enjoy buying complementary items.
The search for new customers is essential. This bakery does not just sell to retail customers, but also to the national wholesale network of Italy, and other large retailers and restaurants.
When selling to the national wholesale network, keeping prices low is the critical factor, but the owners of this bakery have decided not to reduce the quality of their products: this could endanger its reputation with its customers.
The third relevant successful element is:
3) An efficient management and marketing strategy
– Planning and control
The son of one of the owners has relevant experience of the national wholesale network and has studied the evolution of production and commerce. He improves business strategies to make them more efficient e.g. by planning production to avoid unsold products.
– Digital marketing
The business promotes their own products through its website, Facebook and Instagram.
– Long term planning
The owners report that their online sales in Italy in 2014 increased 28% to EUR 7.2 million. How many other businesses have increased their sales as much? However, online sales by Italian businesses account for only 10% of all sales (Source: Il Sole 24 Ore), and so the owners are studying how to sell more of their products online.
“Negozio Storico” (Historic Shop)
All these qualities, along with a commitment going back over 50 years, were important in it being awarded the official designation of “Negozio Storico” (historic shop), by the region of Lombardy. The “Negozio Storico” is a scheme which recognises the union of tradition and innovation by retailers.
If you think that your business could qualify for “Negozio Storico” status, contact us and we will work with you on the tasks required to obtain this valuable award which could significantly boost the profile and value of your business!