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Cafes & Restaurants

Top 5 Cafe Loyalty Program Ideas

Written by 
Brad Davis
June 30, 2020

When developing cafe loyalty program ideas, it can be tough to know where to start… especially at the moment.

While customer loyalty remains crucial to business success, the global cafe industry has undergone some unprecedented changes this year. One such change is the rising importance of contactless business-customer interactions, which affects the way we operate loyalty programs.

Cafe loyalty programs have always needed to be enticing and convenient, but now they also need to be contactless.

Growing demand for café loyalty programs

The café industry is witnessing a growing demand for loyalty programs as customers increasingly seek value beyond their daily coffee fix. In this fast-paced world, a personalized touch can transform a simple coffee purchase into a rewarding experience, encouraging repeat visits and deeper customer relationships.

1. Stick to a simple stamp card system

It’s safe to assume many cafe owners would be ecstatic to have a loyalty program as sophisticated as Starbucks Rewards.

And while Starbucks Rewards is indeed the Holy Grail of digital loyalty apps, you don’t need all the bells and whistles in order to retain customers, boost brand loyalty and increase engagement. That being said, we can give you some tips on how to create a loyalty program app like Starbucks Rewards.

Quest Coffee Roasters has seen exceptional results with its simplistic “digital punch card” approach to loyalty programs. Sometimes, less is more! Simple offers such as “Buy X, Get Y” or “Spend X, Get Y” are easy to understand and often show the best results.

A phone image of the Quest Coffee card on the Stamp Me app.

2. Swap your paper punch cards for a digital loyalty app

Three graphics of stamp cards and an arrow leading to the Stamp Me app.

Digitizing your cafe loyalty program gives you access to something which will change your business forever: customer data.

With a digital loyalty program, every transaction provides your rewards database with new information on each customer, such as:

Pink background with the three pieces of customer information you can get from a loyalty program. With icons.

These are just the bare minimum data points. For instance, by asking customers’ date of birth upon registration (in exchange for an annual birthday reward offer) the rewards platform can automatically segment each customer into an age group.

This is called personalization, and when it’s done right, it can increase customer satisfaction by as much as 640%.

All of this information helps the digital rewards platform to send customers targeted communications and tailored offers. This kind of personalized customer experience just isn’t possible with paper/plastic loyalty cards.

Stamp Me Head of Marketing Michaela Ward says it best: “What a digital loyalty program offers that a paper punch card doesn’t, is the means for direct communication.”

Why have direct communication with your customers?

Blue background with text and icons on why you should have a direct communication with customers.

3. Gamify the customer experience

playing loyalty app game.

To gamify a process is to take an ordinary task – a driving test, exercising or perhaps employee training – and make it fun by adding gaming components to it.

Consider any non-game activity you’ve engaged in where you were rewarded badges, placed on a leader board or unlocked access to new arenas for participating in some way.

When brainstorming cafe loyalty program ideas, gamification is an excellent way to engage customers and build hype around your brand.

The same behavioral principles that make scratch-and-win cards so successful for lotteries and gaming businesses can also be used as a creative marketing tactic and promotional tool to engage customers.

Stamp Me offers gamified features as a standard function of our Pro and Elite loyalty program options, including access to a very effective Scratch & Win instant prize campaign.

Graphic of a woman holding a phone with the scratch card and a notification.

There are a variety of other cafe loyalty program ideas you can employ to get it off the ground, including:

  • inspiring your staff to become loyalty program ambassadors
  • offering an upfront incentive
  • running social media competitions
  • using your loyalty program to demonstrate good corporate citizenship

You can learn more about these techniques in our comprehensive Cafe’s Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs ebook.

How to go about creating a digital loyalty program for your cafe

It’s never been easier to create a fully functioning mobile-based loyalty program app for your business.

Stamp Me is the most straightforward and intuitive loyalty platform that's trusted by cafes around the world. Our loyalty platform is quick and easy for cafes to implement, as it avoids the need for complex software or POS integrations. from just $43 a a month, we allow you to brew special moments of appreciation for your regulars at a reasonable price.

Email Course: 7 Days of Customer Loyalty

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We’ll also send you loyalty tips, trends and resources from time to time (which you can opt out of whenever you like).

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