Customer Loyalty Programs for Coffee Shops and Cafes
January 22, 2020
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For cafe owners looking to increase their customer retention and expand their customer base, there’s no more useful tool than an effective and well-maintained customer loyalty program.
While coffee is an extremely popular commodity, competition between local cafes is often fierce.
So how can coffee shop owners ensure people choose to consistently visit their cafe instead of their competitors across the road? By implementing a well-structured loyalty program that customers find too good to resist!
What is a cafe customer loyalty program?
For coffee shops, a customer loyalty program is essentially any system that rewards its patrons for continuing to purchase food and drinks from that cafe.
Originally, the standard customer loyalty program for cafes was the paper punch-card, where every time you bought a coffee the staff member behind the counter punched a hole in your card and upon 9 stamps, your 10th coffee was free.
While this system used to be extremely popular among cafe owners around the world, it has quickly become defunct.
Why? Because it doesn’t provide the cafe owner with any information about their loyal customers’ spending habits, preferences or demographics, which is essential for knowing the right message to deliver to each customer, at the right time.
We are living in a digital age, and customers expect convenient solutions. This means they don't want to worry about having to carry around paper or plastic punch cards anymore (which they usually lose or forget about anyway).
Why are digital loyalty programs better than paper punch cards for cafes?
Considering that we can even pay with our phones these days, customers now expect businesses to introduce a digital aspect to their loyalty program.
Having a digital loyalty card offers many benefits to both cafes and their customers, especially now that contactless transactions are incredibly important...
Here are some of the benefits of implementing a digital loyalty program for your cafe...
Perhaps the most obvious, customer loyalty programs encourage regular patrons to visit the cafe more frequently, as the promise of a free coffee or some kind of reward motivates them to keep coming back. This helps you turn one-time visit into regulars!
There are countless reasons why a digital loyalty program is a good idea, in any economic climate. However, due to the current pandemic, there are even more reasons why cafes owners should considering offering a digital loyalty card to their customers, as passing around a paper loyalty card is not the most hygienic practise.
You're not just another coffee shop
A customer loyalty program give you a point of difference! If you are offering free coffee for every X purchased, and your competitor over the road is not, customers will far more incentive to continuously purchase from you if there's a reward for their loyalty!
You can sell more
Did you know that existing customers tend to spend 67% more then new customers?
A customer loyalty program also provides opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
For example, if you wanted to sell more of a particular product, let's say... muffins. You could run a promotion like this...
"Earn 2 stamps with each muffin purchase!"
They help you get new customers
A successful cafe customer loyalty program can help you boost referrals and get new business. Happy customers talk.
Locals who are happy with their ongoing experience in a coffee shop are likely to promote the business to their friends, family and co-workers.
One of the great things about a digital loyalty program is that it can help you boost quiet days and slow periods.
Access to loyalty program data
As a cafe owner, you probably already recognise the importance of building a rapport with your customers.
No doubt you’re on a first-name basis with some of your regulars, perhaps you pat their dogs when they come in, or ask how their grandmother’s birthday was last weekend.
While this excellent customer service is incredibly important for running a successful cafe, it doesn’t help you capture information on that customer, such as contact details and times and dates of their visits.
Capturing this information and knowing what to do with it, will vastly improve your marketing efforts and have a dramatically positive impact on your business.