Loyalty is the feeling that there’s something special waiting for you. It can be a friendly face, a comforting atmosphere, great service, or that perfect coffee blend to begin a working morning. Whatever the something special is, it is worth searching out again and again because it makes you happy.
Coffee shop loyalty programs are a way of increasing the excitement or reward a customer gets when they think about visiting your establishment. It’s a way of producing extra value and incentive on top of what should already be one of the highlights of your customer’s day.
The loyalty program should also be an extension of your shop. It should seem completely organic that the individuals that make the coffee would want to thank their regulars by offering them a little discount. That’s why crafting a loyalty program needs to consider how the incentives fit within the wider business.
Creating a Unique Sense of Value
There are a range of different ways you can incentivize your customers into becoming regular fixtures in your coffee shop. Loyalty programs generally aim to increase the frequency of visits or individual spend of customers, but it also establishes an emotional connection with your regulars—you consider our coffee before any others and we treat you better than they would elsewhere.
To make your coffee shop’s loyalty programs into something really special, you need to make it unique to your shop. Go beyond the typical “every fifth coffee is half-price”, to something that plays to your strengths like: “free cookie every 10 times you bring in your personalized mug”. This not only creates that sense of something special, it also builds routine. Customers get accustomed to the way you run your shop and can build it into their daily workflow.
But if a loyalty program is going to become a part of your customer’s day it first must become a viable part of your business.
Building Coffee Shop Loyalty Programs
Your loyalty program must fit within the operating processes of the rest of your business or you run the risk of wasting the incentives you create. The discounts and giveaways you offer your customers must be accounted for in your inventory flow or you’ll lose track of your cost, profit understanding, and your basic purchase ordering process.
That’s why the program needs to be built into your overall point of sale system. A digital POS is the central hub of your shop. It records all the in-comings and out-goings and links each facet of your business so you can maintain control over what happens before and after the coffee starts percolating. In short, it’s an all-in-one digital setup that lets you manage your entire business from a single platform. The hardware is usually connected to your POS register but the software is housed in the Cloud so it can be accessed from any internet-connected device.
A professional-grade POS solution should be able to handle:
- Online and offline sales
- Internet orders and menu alterations
- Automated purchase orders and stock take
- Employee management, including interactive rosters
- Refunds, discounts, giveaways, and write-offs
- Personalized printing and barcodes
- Bundled product lines
In addition to all this your POS solution can help you administer and evaluate your coffee shop loyalty program, so you know if your discounts and free gifts are having the right impact.
Assessing Your Loyalty Program
Any manager worth their apron strings can get a broad sense of a loyalty program’s effectiveness just by casting their eyes across a morning rush. Turning this instinctive feel into a tangible, mathematically sound assessment of a program can, however, prove the difference between success and failure.
Every purchase order and every individual sale can be recorded through a digital POS system. So, every time a staff member hits the “discount” button on your register a little note gets made in your POS solution that the particular sale cost you a little more. By analyzing these sales figures over time—be it a week, a month, or an entire quarter—you get a direct answer as to how much a loyalty program costs to run. This built-in data science reveals how many customers use your loyalty program relative to overall sales, when they use them, and how their purchases change over time.
Are you building a loyal customer base, or just giving away your profits?
By pairing your loyalty program with a comprehensive digital POS system, you get the hard facts on whether or not your proposed incentives and rewards are connecting with your customers.
Coffee Shop Loyalty Programs Can Work for You
Remember, coffee shop loyalty programs are designed to build a connection between you, your product and your customer. They are supposed to be the promise of a little extra value, if only your customer would spare the time to come and frequent your shop.
However, it needs to make financial sense. In order to maximize your loyalty program and ensure the little extra niceties are adding to and not eroding your bottom line, you need to build it into your overall business processes.
Coffee shop loyalty programs are a great way to boost your business, but you still have to run them as a business.
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