Competing in the new high street - Macphie

“Life is slowly coming back to the high street, as consumers move to buying what they need, when they need it, looking to reduce waste in the home and manage ever tightening home budgets. This change in shopping behaviour is directly reflected by the rapid expansion of the major multiples smaller format local stores (IGD ), as they return to the High street, even converting some more unusual empty properties with parking, such as Pubs, with over 200 conversions since January 2010.

However, competition for ‘Food on the Go’, small treats and snacking is fierce and much wider spread, as consumers are offered baked goods and accompaniments from every conceivable angle. Petrol forecourts, fast food chains large and small, coffee shops, local supermarkets, c-stores and discounters looking to capture this consumer spend. So in this highly competitive environment what can Bakers do to ensure they get more than their fair share of consumer spend?

Quality, service and value remain givens, with consumers now looking for a more satisfying shopping experience, so the Baker needs to appeal to all the senses. Firstly sight, we all initially make decisions based on our first impression and time is of the essence with an average consumer only spending 1.6 seconds looking to act (TetraPak). The Baker’s window is start-point and needs to make an immediate impact, using colour and variety to attract, on entering the shop there should be a logical flow, clear signage and plenty of colour to catch the eye. Even sandwich fillings can offer a burst of colour and also emphasise “freshness”, something that Subway the world’s largest fast food chain, uses to great effect.
Smell should be an easy win for the Baker, as next to fresh coffee, the smell of fresh baked goods is a firm favourite with all ages. Next Taste, for the small cost involved I’m always surprised how infrequently we see tasting plates or even an offer of a small sample used to help a consumer make a purchase decision. With a generally captive audience at peak times of the day, such as lunchtime, why not take the advantage to offer small samples of new products or even old forgotten favourites.

Finally Sound, this is where your people can truly set you apart, from the first friendly greeting, to helpful suggestions, clear advice and a simple thank-you all adding to the consumer’s experience.

Underpinning all of the above is a strong product range, which needs to blend a core range of local favourites and best sellers, with an element of “something new”, some of this will be provided by changing seasonal specialities and novelties, but this should also be supplemented with some innovation. This can take the form of more unusual fillings, toppings or finishes on standard products, as well completely new products.

It’s also very important to ensure that any accompaniments e.g. drinks or snacks, support the quality baked offer, so it’s worth investing in quality, particularly in coffee, given its importance in the modern consumers life. According to Allegra Strategies, consumers are spending £450 a year on coffee, with 71% of consumers buying food to consume with their cup of coffee.
The ability to flex the product range and offer across the day is also an important consideration, as consumer types and needs will change even in the local High Street. From breakfast to a mid-morning treat or breakfast top-up, then lunch on the got to a treat after school and even a something to keep me going till tea. Meal deals and link offers are the tried and trusted route to build spend and increase repertoire shopping, but loyalty rewards are also a very important tool to build consistent trade with a core base of consumers.

At Macphie we are working with a number of our Bakery customers to help them deliver the right consumer experience, supported by a great product offer.”

Andy Underwood, Sales & Marketing Director at Macphie of Glenbervie