Business tips

How a traditional bakery has embraced e-commerce

Master Pastry Chef and owner of King of Cakes, Wolfgang Kelke, brought German and Bavarian cakes to the people of Brisbane in 1990. Tastes were perhaps a little more parochial before the days of MasterChef and fusion cuisine, but his cakes were quickly embraced and word spread fast.

“People were cautious about the rye bread, though. That’s taken some time,” says Kelke. “But as Brisbane has become more multicultural, that has helped to promote diversity in food.”

Soon a couple more stores were opened around Brisbane, and Qantas’ catering and Ansett’s catering came on board. By the late 1990s Kelke ensured the company had an online presence. “This was simply to be able to give customers access to product information. Over the next few years people started to look up products and then order via the office and pay over the phone.”

Creating the online store

Eventually it became clear that a comprehensive online ordering system was needed and so the e-commerce arm of the business was opened in 2010. “We got someone else to design the website. We’re just good at making cakes!” jokes Kelke.

They are now on their third website design and the current incarnation is easy to use and displays mouth-watering images of each of the products that can be ordered. There is a pop-up box from which you can check delivery to your postcode or just return to browsing the shop. “It runs very smoothly and bringing in SecurePay two years ago has been great in helping the business run efficiently,” says Kelke.

Delivering perishables

Despite King of Cakes’ online presence and several bricks and mortar stores, the business is still very much run in a small family business style. They did eventually move into a central manufacturing location in 2004 – from where production and distribution to retail and wholesale occurs – but the online store is managed by one person, and Kelke carries out many of the deliveries himself.

“At this point for the cakes we can only deliver within Brisbane and the customers for this are mainly people from overseas or other states who have loved ones here. Also Brisbane offices looking for a point of difference. The cakes get packed into regular cake boxes and then into our specially designed cake bags. Delivery is always the next day after ordering and most of the time I do the deliveries myself,” adds Kelke.

“Breads and biscuits are much easier to pack and send and we usually use Australia Post or a freight forwarder for this.”

Tips for similar businesses

“Every business will have its own needs. The most important tip is to have a presence online for the brand, whether you sell online or not, and know that it will be a continuous refinement process to give better service and expand for the future.”

For Kelke, he hopes that means reaching out beyond the shores of Queensland soon.

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