coffee shop marketing trends for small businesses

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Staying on top of the newest coffee shop marketing trends is a must for small coffee shop owners. Many local coffee shops face many common challenges when it comes to convincing the locals in their community to choose them over their rival big box coffee chains. Covid-19 has affected the small business community in many ways, including initiating a rise in conscious activity of consumers to shop with and support local businesses. Gone are the days where large national chains will dominate local communities, blocking visibility of their small businesses. 

There are coffee shops on every corner, which makes it even more important for your small local coffee shop to offer customers an experience they otherwise would not get from a big box coffee brand. Here are 4 strategies you can implement now to convince locals to choose you over your rival big box coffee chains. 

Provide a Community-like Experience

Another great coffee shop marketing trend is using your venue to remind consumers of their local community. Consumers seek experiences as well as products. People do not go to coffee shops just for the coffee. They go to have meetings, to be alone with their thoughts, also known as “the third-space”, or to spend time with their friends. Starbucks attracts so many people because they have mastered the experience their target customers expect from their product and their atmosphere. When professionals want to have a quick coffee meeting, they go to Starbucks. If you close your eyes and imagine the inside of a Starbucks you will imagine customers with opened laptops either in conversation with another customer or students with headphones pecking away at their keyboards. Another thing you would notice is the loud and crowded dining room. For Starbucks, this is success because their target customers are the busy professionals. 

As a small local coffee shop your biggest competitive advantage is that you’re small. You have the freedom to create a community-like atmosphere that speaks to the interest and lifestyle of your customers. You can attract the busy moms who meet with their friends in the middle of the day for a quick coffee chat. Or high-energy teenagers who drink coffee before or after school? What kind of community-like experience can you create that locals will only get when they visit your small local coffee shop? 

Add a bit of the Community to Your Menu

Every coffee shop has their own unique way to grind and flavor their coffee. Unique flavor combinations create the base of that keeps the taste buds of customers coming back for more. Locals love the community they live in and get excited when presented with opportunities to experience that community in unique ways. Humphrey’s Street Coffee in Nashville, TN offers delicious flavors of community by “providing jobs and mentoring opportunities for young people”. They invite the community to share in this mission everyday through their menu.

Try diversifying your menu, occasionally implementing a seasonal flavors or products that speak to the emotional attachment customers have to the local community. Is there a special event or holiday that your community celebrates like no other city? If so, add this experience to your menu.

Make the Community Part of Your Team

In our research we found that 89% of millennials want to advocate for small local businesses but are waiting for the local business to ask them to do it. This is a simple strategy to implement. Using review platforms like Google to collect customer reviews is one way. Another creative and powerful way to put your customers to work for you is to ask them to create a social media post or video review to share their experience with their network. You can get creative and start a #ContentChallenge asking for specific kinds of reviews by posting the request near your check out or on table tents in the middle of the table. This will be a lot of fun for you and your customers. Our new community marketing platform will automate this action for you to help you collect this kind of content at scale.   

Offer a Loyalty Program that Speaks to Customer Interests

Once you start connecting with the community, you begin to understand what makes the local customers tick. You learn what type of messaging, offers, and products they respond to. This makes it easier to design a loyalty program that will actually create loyal customers and help your local coffee shop generate repeat revenues. Today’s consumer has a lot of power. They can access almost anything they want or need in a matter of days, which creates the desire for instant gratification. Traditional loyalty programs are not designed to meet this need of today’s consumer. Instant gratification is an important component to build into your loyalty program to keep your customers engaged and excited to earn their next reward. 

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