Like many small businesses, bakeries may have to target several market segments to be successful. Understanding who's in your primary and your secondary markets can make the task of marketing your independent bakery far easier and more profitable. Allowing a potential market segment to go unexplored can result in lost profits and marketing failures.

The General Public

Walk-ins are a large part of the bakery customer base. They tend to consist of neighborhood people who get to know the bakery and its products and visit regularly to buy products to eat at home. The market segment of a neighborhood bakery is typically based on the neighborhood itself. For example, if you open a luxurious French bakery that specializes in high-priced delicacies and imported treats in a low-income neighborhood, the odds are you will not have immediate success. If you open an ethnic Colombian bakery in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, you may struggle to find customers. Know your market and your area to ensure the area has the customer base for your products.

Retail Outlets

Neighborhood grocery stores, delis and bodegas can make up a major portion of a local bakery's market segment. The distribution of products beyond your front door creates more touch points between you and the consumer and allows far more exposure than you would have with only one storefront. If you succeed in marketing to local businesses that sell your products at retail and use your breads and cakes in their own product preparation, you can develop two market segments at once. The stores themselves will purchase your products wholesale, and the consumer will be purchasing your product and forming an even closer bond with the brand.

Special Events

Special events can be a major market segment for independent bakeries. Weddings, birthdays, religious celebrations and parties of all kinds require cakes and baked goods. Bakeries can partner with party venues in the area to ensure that customers know what they have to offer when the time comes. Display windows and cases show what options the consumer has, and they help your market segment find you. Your marketing can consist of cake and special event promotions to let neighbors know where to come for their holiday and event goodies.


Restaurants often purchase their breads, pastries and cakes from an outside vendor rather than making them from scratch in-house. Local bakeries are one of the first places restaurants look for possible suppliers, as the quality of the goods are typically better than that provided by large corporate distributors. Local bakeries can customize orders and fill them at the last minute if necessary. Independent bakeries can visit local restaurants and cafes with wholesale price lists and information about the full line of available goods. Delivery is a requirement in most cases, but your market segment can grow significantly if you have a few successful restaurants making orders every night.