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Food & Beverage

Customer Retention Lessons from Coffee Shops

Posted on October 8, 2019

“I’ll have the usual” — it’s typically how regulars at coffee shops and other quick service establishments request their order, and the sign of a repeat customer. Coffee shops are known for drawing consistent crowds, but coffee shop-style customer retention isn’t confined to just the local cafe.

All brick and mortar retailers can build this level of rapport with their customers if they take a closer look at why coffee shops have such good customer retention.

Cashier giving a cup of coffee

Apply the following lessons from coffee shops and watch repeat business roll in.

Lessons from coffee shops to incorporate into your custom retention strategies

Catering to your customers

Enhancing the shopping experience by making it more convenient for your customers is an easy way to keep them coming back. Think of your favorite cafe or your local Starbucks — what amenities do they have? Free wifi, outlets for charging phones and laptops, mobile order apps for quick service, and comfortable areas for lounging are just some common services found in the typical coffee shop. 

These are all great ideas, but you don’t have to apply all of them. Instead, let customer behavior dictate where and how you expand. 

For example, if customers tend to spend only 10-20 minutes in your shop to pick up food or drink, a lounge area might not be necessary. In this scenario, an ordering app might be the best expansion decision, and providing a few chairs for the occasional wait wouldn’t hurt. If, however, your shop is one where people come with their books and laptops to get some work done, you’ll want to make your space more comfortable for a longer stay. 

Selling beyond your core product or service

Whatever you’re known for selling, you can always branch out. Let’s look at Starbucks again. While they’re known primarily for selling coffee, you can get much more at your local shop than just a cup of Joe. Starbucks also provides branded merchandise like mugs, water bottles, and on-the-go snacks that pair well with their drinks. 

Many other brick and mortar businesses do the same. Beauty salons primarily provide hair, skin, and nail care services, but you can also buy flip flops, nail polish, and accessories at these establishments. Similarly, pet stores might sell training sessions and grooming services. 

Get creative about how you can add to your inventory with complementary products and services — your customers are sure to appreciate the convenience, and your revenue can grow considerably.  

Introducing a loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are one of the best ways to boost repeat business. Point systems, incentives for repeat purchases, and rewards keep customers coming back.

Once a loyalty program is implemented, the more your customers shop with you, the more they have to gain. Consider Starbucks’ Rewards Program. Now with a whopping 17.2 million active members, Starbucks Rewards allow customers to collect stars with every purchase. These translate to free items, exclusive personalized offers, and more. 

Make your loyalty program unique to your brand by thinking about what customers want most and finding ways to deliver these as incentives, rewards, and more. 

All brick and mortar businesses can stand to learn a thing or two from these coffee shop customer retention lessons. Easily applicable and highly effective, these strategies will bring in customers and keep them coming back. When repeat business increases, so does growth, so keep your business on a healthy trajectory by trying out some or all of these lessons for yourself.

Making your business a comfortable spot for new and repeat customers doesn’t have to be difficult. Request a demo and work out the details with us.