From a consumer standpoint, coffee drinkers are a unique breed. Every coffee drinker has their own special habit or routine when it comes to their morning ritual. That is to say coffee drinkers are lovers are extremely loyal. You’re either Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts or Keurig vs the traditional pot. Also, for more local shops, customers develop their preferred local spots where they have may have a relationship with the barista and feel comfortable in the atmosphere. They know exactly what they want, know how to order it and know where everything is. As you can see, it’s tough for a new coffee shop to break ground. You can have the best coffee shop business plan in the world, but if you don’t market yourself correctly, it can all lead to nothing.
But it isn’t hopeless. Far from it, even. Here’s what new coffee shop owners can do to market their business effectively, bring in customers and stand out in a competitive market.
- Give your product away: The word “free” holds a powerful and magical spell on the American consumer and giving away free stuff is still an excellent way to grab somebody’s attention. One common way new coffee shops or restaurants reel in customers is by attending local events and giving out some free samples. You can also just hand out free samples at your business.
- Loyalty cards: One way to get more loyal customers? Hand out loyalty cards. Duh. Some coffee shops may feel that loyalty cards are tacky and that they’re “above” them, but they do work and it’s a super simple way to engage with customers. Loyalty cards will naturally be more inclined to keep coming back to your shop in order to get that eventual free cup of coffee.
- Scale down the menu: Take a page from In-n-Out Burger on this one, and try making your menu as simple as possible. Not everyone has the money and resources to be like Starbucks and offer things like a Golden Ginger Ale Fizzio (huh?). Having too many items can easily confuse customers, so it may be best to simply offer fewer options and make these options of extremely high quality.
- Watch your margins: As a new business owner you should have a basic understanding of our margins. A good rule of thumb is to increase your margins on gourmet items or ones that are unique to your business. On the flip side, consider decreasing margins for more common items like muffins, cookies and soda. The margins on your higher priced items should be able to account for the lower margins.
- Be active on social: Social media can be a coffee shop’s best friend, and it’s necessary to utilize it to your advantage. Facebook and Twitter are obviously the kings when comes to social media marketing, but your business should also really concentrate on Instagram. In fact, this blog would argue that for coffee shops, Instagram might even be more important than Facebook or Twitter. Your coffee shop’s Instagram account can flourish if you post images of your beautiful cups of espresso or your scrumptious baked goods.
As an independent and local coffee shop owner, you should be doing everything you can to take advantage of the tendencies of coffee drinkers. Marketing is crucial is to any coffee shop that is in its early stages and we hope you found this advice helpful.