Visiting our coffee shop customers across South Wales, we’re often asked for tips to help drive the loyalty and engagement of their customers. Having helped a number of people start their first coffee shops and cafés, we’ve built up a good knowledge base and are glad to share what we can.
It’s important for proprietors to have the power to communicate and engage with their customers using all types of media, from loyalty cards and promotional material to social media activity and email communications.
Plenty of coffee shops use loyalty cards in the traditional way, allowing customers to get a stamp for every purchase, before ultimately getting a ‘free’ drink when all the stamps are completed. For many that’s the end of the process.
These are the cards we designed for one of our customers.
This can just be the beginning. By adapting the traditional loyalty card model, a database of regular customers can be built, those who have visited more than once.
You might ask them to complete a card with their name and email address, incentivising them with membership of a VIP coffee club, and showing the benefits:
- more special offers
- more coffee knowledge
- regular enewsletters about the coffee shop
- profiles of staff and activities.
Equally, you can invite them to like your Facebook page – another very popular method, and show a commitment to regularly updating that page with news and content. In fostering the relationship, building community and developing closeness with customers, regulars should ultimately spend more. It costs less to encourage regulars to be more regular, than to attract brand new customers.
There are a number of services like Mailchimp.com, which lets you store a certain number of email addresses and lets you send a large number of monthly emails for free. Facebook and Twitter are services you’ve probably heard of by now.
You don’t need to be an expert marketer or a technical whizz-kid to start this activity. There really is nothing to be nervous about. Potential benefits of new customer loyalty and increased engagement hugely outweigh issues in getting to grips with a service or figuring out a plan.