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.
“Mere weeks after certain countries began to ease their lockdown policy, we’ve seen a steep peak in businesses wanting to implement a digital loyalty program,” says our Head of Marketing, Michaela Ward.
“We don’t think there’s a more fitting time for a brand to strengthen a relationship with its existing customers.”
So how can cafe owners best use a loyalty program to retain customers, inspire brand loyalty and drive increased engagement? Here are the top cafe loyalty program ideas to help business owners quickly recover from this difficult period.
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.
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.
2. Swap your paper punch cards for a digital loyalty 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:
frequency of visit
average transaction value
preferred menu items
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.
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?
inform them of special deals and offers
remind them of their rewards progress (“Only two stamps to go until a free coffee!”)
announce a new product or menu item
invite them to special events your café is hosting or involved in
wish them a happy birthday with a special offer
reach out to lapsed customers (“We haven’t seen you in a while… come in for a free croissant with your next coffee purchase!”)
boost slow periods
friendly messages to stay front of mind
3. Gamify the customer experience
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.
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
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.
Cafe owners can subscribe to a loyalty app provider (like Stamp Me) and have access to a fully functioning digital loyalty platform at a very reasonable monthly cost. As an example, our loyalty app starts from just $43 per month.
A recent Vibes report stated that nearly three-quarters of smartphone users are eager to have all their loyalty programs stored on their devices in one handy spot, for convenience and ease of use.
At Stamp Me, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for cafe owners to implement a digital rewards program.
We also offer several other rewards validation solutions – the one which works best for your specific cafe ultimately depends on your own unique business model.
However take a look at our Quest Coffee case study to see what this company is doing to validate their customers' stamps.