Your Bakery’s Shipping program

Elevate Your Bakery’s Shipping Program: A Success Story from Bennison’s Bakery

If you run a successful retail bakery, we’d bet you are asked almost daily if you ship your bakery.  Customers are eager to share their favorite sweet treats with their family and friends, regardless of where they live.  

The simple joy of receiving delicious bakery to your doorstep is hard to rival!  The smiles alone make it worthwhile!! While creating a shipping program can be a great revenue channel for your bakery it can also feel daunting and full of unknowns to get started.   We are here to help you keep it simple and learn from other bakeries who have gone through the trials of launching and then optimizing their shipping programs.

We sat down to learn from the success story of Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston, IL, as Blaine Downer, a key player and family member in the bakery’s operations, shares valuable insights. In this blog post, we dive into the transformation of their shipping program, exploring the challenges faced, strategic changes implemented, and the impressive results achieved. 

Bennison’s Bakery, with a rich 85-year history, has been a staple in their community. Blaine, having joined the team officially 14 months ago, brings a fresh perspective to the table. Prior to her official role, she played a role in managing farmer’s markets, providing her with a unique understanding of customer preferences.

Revamping the Shipping Program

When Blaine took charge of the shipping program, the challenges were evident. The existing system, managed through  WooCommerce and their off site webmaster,  posed issues such as inflated shipping charges, delayed order fulfillment, and inconvenience in updating product offerings. The need for a comprehensive solution was clear.

Technological Overhaul

Blaine initiated a technological overhaul by transitioning to BakeSmart, which Bennison’s already used for POS, Order Management, and eCommerce. This streamlined the process, allowing for a seamless integration of the shipping catalog into BakeSmart’s eCommerce store, branded as “From our Bakery to Your Door.” This change ensured that all products in the shipping program were automatically included in reporting and order management systems.

Strategic Product Expansion

To enhance the shipping program, Blaine strategically expanded the product offerings. Collaborating with the production team, she identified products suitable for shipping and then conducted tests to ensure product freshness upon arrival.

Creating boxes of your most popular items that are good shipping contenders and then selling that box as the shipping option is the way to go.

We’ve seen so many bakeries find themselves in the weeds and frustrated because they are trying to figure out how to price and ship customer directed selections (think about the customers who want one sugar cookie, one muffin and a coffeecake to be shipped. It’s almost impossible to figure out the right packaging and shipping charge for such a box.)

Instead, you, the bakery owner determine what you are willing to ship and let the customer choose from your selections.   We’ve seen great results when bakeries ship in quantities of 6, 12 and 24 of the same products (offering different flavor combos within those numbers). Your packaging is already pre-determined, your packing team is trained and knows exactly how to pack the items for optimal delivery success and you can scale and grow your shipping offerings all while staying profitable!

Packaging and Shipping Charges Simplified.

Blaine found customizable boxes from Uline which helped with keeping the right shipping boxes on hand. The boxes can be cut down by pre-marked guide lines depending on what is being shipped, allowing for the bakery to only keep one box on hand instead of the three they would have too otherwise.

And probably the most important shift was charging a flat rate for shipping, based on the size box.  They determined what the cost was to ship from their address to the farthest point on the map, added to that amount, the cost of packaging and labor and set the price.  Now regardless of where the box is shipped, she knows she’ll be financial whole.

Branding and Marketing

Blaine took a creative approach to enhance the customer experience. Custom packing tape with the bakery’s branding became a marketing tool, creating a unique and recognizable touch. Customers could immediately identify their bakery order without opening the box, adding a delightful element to the unboxing experience.  And every hand the box passes through knows there’s fresh bakery inside.  Talk about mouthwatering marketing at it’s best!

Results and Future Growth

The results speak for themselves. By October 2023, after transitioning the shipping program to BakeSmart and actively promoting it, Bennison’s Bakery experienced a significant uptick. Within just six weeks leading up to Christmas, they fulfilled 200 shipments, marking substantial growth compared to the previous year’s total of 175 shipments.

Blaine’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, even forming a friendly bond with the UPS driver due to the increased shipping volume. The success of the revamped shipping program has positioned Bennison’s Bakery for further growth, turning a part-time endeavor into a full-time managerial role.

In conclusion, Blaine’s strategic approach to technology, product expansion, and creative branding provides valuable insights for bakery owners aiming to enhance their shipping programs. By leveraging technology and embracing customer-focused practices, Bennison’s Bakery demonstrates that success is sweet when the right ingredients come together.

To learn more about the vendors Blaine used email [email protected].

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