I spend a lot of time engaging in the reading/writing trenches, nestled into corners of various coffee shops. I've paraded face in quite a few in my day. So much, in fact, I think I've noticed some favorable marketing aspects and some which could use a caffeine-infused wakeup.
Of course, a post speaking specifically upon coffee shops is not going to help the general public of business owners; so, I will relay my observations and suggestions in a manner that is digestible to all.
Pay Attention to How Your Brand Treats Employees
When I was younger, my mom would always say what I did was a reflection on her (sorry, ma!). In business, I believe how employees are treated is a reflection on upper-level executives and overall brand value.
I've observed managers speaking negatively, condescendingly, and downright disrespectfully to employees, to the point where I told one individual I would not be returning to their establishment due to my observations.
Chris Winfield tweeted a Forbes article yesterday on behaviors of leaders. Check numbers three and five. If the above manger did, I would still be frequenting their establishment.
Do you think others observe how your employees are treated? You better count on it.
Some coffee shops are designed poorly, as far as creating an ongoing ambiance. Rather than a quick come-and-go scenario, other brands 'invite' you to stay…for as long as you wish. Furthermore, the design of these establishments 'walk' that brand of 'talk.'
Basically, as a frequenter of coffee shops, I have needs. So do all of your consumers (regardless of your service/product). For instance, yes, I like coffee; but, I also want to stay and sit, use WiFi, learn about local happenings, purchase the local and national paper, and situate myself in comfortable seating.
What is your brand doing to ensure consumers come back? What additional resources or amenities could you provide them with? It could be a number of things including on and offline implementations. Do you think cuddling your consumers makes a difference?
Take a look at what 7-11s in Jakarta are doing to satisfy their consumers.
Give More to Get More
If yours is a business that likes cutting cost-corners then this sub section is not for you. There's a particular shop I visited. I buy a lot of coffee; so, when a coffee card was offered I took the bait. You get every tenth coffee free. Awesome, that means within a good week, I'll probably get at least two free coffees!
Admittedly, I don't like carrying around extra cards or 'signing up' anywhere; but, this made sense, until… For one, there's no honor system or phone number system. If I forgot my card, then, oh well, I'm out of luck as far as the ongoing freebie is concerned.
Secondly, as stated above, I drink a lot of coffee. It's not uncommon for me to consume more than twenty cups per week; yet, due to the manager's rules, I can only get one free coffee per week (though that notion contradicts the 'buy 9 get the 10th free' slogan).
Thirdly, and this was relayed to me verbatim: "We no longer carry coffee ushers for our customers because the manufacturer raised the price." They raised the price on cardboard coffee holders? By how much? A few cents? Wow.
Consumers like being cuddled. Furthermore, we like the eventual 'freebie' or 'discount' for being a 'regular.' It's kind of like a 'thank you for your patronage' type of thing. That matters a lot to some people. Are you so concerned with cutting costs that you must take away from consumers? Bad idea.
Not only do patrons appreciate deals; but, they'll tell their friends about it too! Read the following case study done on special offers.