These days, it would be almost impossible to walk through any busy high street and not find at least one coffee shop nestled into the row of shop fronts. The past decade has seen an army of coffee shops and quirky bistros pop up and this is all down to the fact that there has been a surge in demand for coffee products.
Whilst the UK’s coffee shop market is still dominated by the big three chains most people recognise immediately (Starbucks, Costa and Café Nero), the number of independent coffee shops is also increasing year on year.
And whilst the big three may hold a combined share of 54% of the market, the general public are also attuned to the fact that small businesses need their custom as economical sustainability relies on supporting local businesses.
The appeal of coffee shops has become majorly widespread in recent years, and so has the desire to own them. Coffee addicts have veered towards making a living from what they love and according to research from IBISWorld, revenue is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 4% over 5 years to reach £6.3 billion.
So, the signs are looking good… and coffee shop owners have a lot to look forward to, but of course, if you are a proud owner of such an establishment, it is vital to recognise that you are operating in a hugely competitive market. Here are a few tips to marketing your coffee shop on a budget:
1.Bring Something Unique to The Table
The coffee market is dominated by the big brands that it’s futile trying to directly compete with them.
There are a lot of “brand loyalists” when it comes to coffee and for many, a cinnamon spice latte from Starbucks is a little wedge of luxury.
You do not need to go over the top with what you do to set yourself aside from the domineering chains your small business is competing with. Whether you make it your number one goal to deliver the best customer service in town or open an hour earlier than your competitors, every little helps.
2.Customer Loyalty Scheme
Establishing a customer loyalty program for your coffee establishment is a great route to explore. With so much choice out there for consumers – and therefore a lot of competition for your business venture, it is essential that you give consumers a reason to choose your coffee shop every single time.
As far as marketing goes, offering a customer loyalty scheme is one of the best ways to find and retain a strong customer base. Remember, it is easier and more cost effective to retain a customer than it is to lose one and find another.
To get some inspiration on what works best and what the right reward is to offer returning customers, check out what the leading brands are doing. Their rewards programs have ultimately led them to establish themselves as industry leaders, so it is worth mirroring some of their efforts.
But essentially, the options are quite simple. You can do either of the following:
-A product-based rewards system
-A points-based system
-A visits-based system
-A cashback-based system
3.Add Character to Your Marketing Campaigns
Let’s be honest…When it comes to marketing, everything has already been done before. It is difficult to invent a new marketing approach that has not already been done a thousand times already, so it is best to choose a marketing tactic that aligns best with your brand.
If you want to be quirky and create an emotional connection to your products, get inventive with product names. Cultural references are always popular, which is why drinks like “The Godfather” and “Mad Men” cocktails are so popular.
You can even have a menu that is entirely themed, and this can be reflected in the way you decorate your premises. For example, if you decide to do a refurb and make your coffee shop Hollywood themed, then it of course makes sense to name your products after famous Hollywood stars. You can then link this to your customer loyalty program and have regular’s competing for a star on your very own Hollywood Walk of Fame.
If your business is due a rebrand, has been trading for at least 4 months and takes payments by card, then a Business Cash Advance may be the perfect solution you have been searching for. You can use the money to buy new premises or renovate your current one, plus it can be used for stock, new equipment and working capital too and it is not judged wholly on your credit history. This type of funding is fantastic for small businesses like coffee shops as the payments are flexible and can be paid back at a pace that suits the borrower.
4.Use Psychology to Draw Attention
Did you know that most consumers operate on the “Golden Triangle” method when ordering? This method is based on the idea that customers are first drawn to the centre of a menu, followed by the top right and then top left corners.
So, if there is a particular product that you want to fly off the shelves, then this is a good approach to experiment with – and better yet, it is entirely free. You can place the more expensive items on your menu in these positions in an attempt to bolster sales.
5.Invest in A Catchy Pavement Sign
We bet you have come across your fair share of pavement signs, but it is always the quirky, tongue-in-cheek ones that get remembered. Here are a few witty examples:
-“Depresso: the feeling you get when you’ve run out of coffee.”
-“Our coffee is an experience that chalk is unable to convey.”
-“Coffee (noun) 1. Starter fluid for the morning.”
Pavement signs that make people laugh are the ones that will be remembered. They are the sort of signs that end up going viral on social media and even if your business does not quite manage to get its pavement sign viral, it is likely that customers and passers-by will take a picture and share it with a friend, which is a golden opportunity in the marketing world. And the budget for such a marketing campaign? A plain blackboard and some chalk.
Marketing any business can be difficult in today’s extremely competitive markets. Navigating through the tactics that don’t work can be a nightmare, especially if you end up wiping out half of your budget whilst doing so. But as with any business idea, it is important to do your research into the inner workings of the industry before taking the plunge.
Putting together a well-thought out business plan is the first thing any potential coffee shop owner should do – and even those who have already made the huge leap into entrepreneurship. An up-to-date business plan is a must have for any successful business. Once you have that in place, cash flow forecasting is the next item on your priority list, as this will become the blueprint to your coffee shop business. Accurate cash flow forecasting is fundamental to businesses that are hoping to acquire funding from a finance provider or an investor, so get ahead now and prepare for the days when accommodating growth is a necessity and not just a dream.
If you are experiencing cash flow challenges or want to realise your business growth plans, get in touch with our team of Funding Specialists today on 020 7839 9451 or email [email protected].