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A coffee shop is one of the best opportunities to create a consumer loyalty program.  Yet, as any café owner knows, creating loyalty can be a challenge. 
 
Approximately 46 percent of coffee drinkers patronize a coffee shop for their regular cup o' joe.  With over 24,000 coffee shops to choose from, however, its no wonder they can be extremely fickle.  And aside from the brick and mortar shops, they can choose to use the office Keurig machine or stop at a local convenience store selling hot and bottled coffee beverages. 
 
So how do you develop regular customers in such a challenging environment? Here are a few lessons to consider when starting (or refining) a digital consumer loyalty program.

Digital coffee loyalty programs are much easier to optimize than the outdated and easily misplaced wallet card.  And, they allow for data and analytics to be captured to really set one's loyalty program ahead of the rest.  

Target Digital Natives

In thinking about a digital program, it's important to recognize that you won’t be able to get everyone into a digital loyalty program and probably shouldn’t try. That said, the best approach starts with creating an app designed for customers comfortable paying with their phone and who enjoy getting push messages from trusted brands. Of course, you should work with an excellent designer and developer to create a seamless experience.
 
Another word of caution: don’t focus on explaining everything to everyone. You’ll wind up with a bulky experience that will turn off digital natives and it likely won’t be enough to convince people who don’t regularly use apps. The people who do sign up and use the app will appreciate a program that can be tailored to them using relevant data.

Take Mobile Payments

In 2016, 22 percent of Starbucks sales were done by their app. While taking mobile payments may seem like a headache, consider that a mobile payment can also be the first step in creating a member for a loyalty program. The app simplifies the payment system for regular customers who want to get through the line as quickly as possible. It also displays a barcode the barista scans from the phone to complete the transaction.
 
Plus, with a mobile payment you will likely get the consumer’s email.  This gives you the ability to ask if the customer would be interested in discounts and specials. That’s a big way to get new sippers into your loyalty program.

Getting Downloads

Worried about how you’ll get people to download and use the app? Of course, marketing with point of purchase signs, Facebook ads and Tweets makes sense. So does appealing to digital natives where they live. A Wi-Fi marketing and analytics provider can also work with you to customize the Wi-Fi signup page, including an upsell to your company’s app. What better market could there be for your app than customers who are already sitting in your store and about to sign on to your digital network?
 
Using Wi-Fi marketing, you can even adjust the messaging on the signup page to appeal to seasonal specials and other distinctive promotions.

Encouraging Repeat Users

A digital loyalty program has numerous advantages over a wallet card that can foster repeat purchases. For starters, a store will know which customers drink lattes and which like hazelnut coffee, as well as numerous other preferences. Want to have a special on lattes? Let the latte fans know!
 
By investing in a Wi-Fi analytics platform, a shop can truly capitalize on the data it receives from sign-ups. Perhaps a “happy hour” upsell can be offered to customers who regularly use in-store Wi-Fi in the late afternoon. Once you understand all of the consumer data being collected, you’ll find inventive ways to connect with customers on a regular basis, from sharing fun facts to offering surprise drink offers to remind users who haven’t been by the store for a few weeks to stop by again soon.
 
Customer churn is a natural part of almost every industry. Given that 61 percent of U.S. consumers have said they would switch brands based on price, you have to expect that some buyers will be coming and going quickly. Great coffee businesses thrive on repeat drinkers. Work with a Wi-Fi marketing & analytics company to find ways to regularly drive consumers back to your coffee shop.
 
 
 

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