Coffee shops are everywhere—on street corners, in airports, even connected to hotels. With so many options for getting a caffeine fix, making your own business stand out might seem difficult at first. After all, every place is providing an in-demand product, be it a sugary drink or black coffee. Why would customers stop into your shop if they can go to another one down the block that they’ve been to before, or one that appears more convenient?

But not every coffee shop has one of the most important ingredients for success: a loyal customer base. The key to building a successful coffee shop is to convert first-time customers into return customers. That’s easier said than done, but we’ve made the practice of creating a coffee shop return customer easier with a few tips.

Build Customer Loyalty at a Coffee Shop with a Mug Club

Custom beer mugsSome coffee shops have successfully created a loyal customer base by starting a mug club, a kind of loyalty program that encourages customers to bring in their custom coffee cups for special deals year round. Instead of handing out punch cards that will only get lost in your customers’ purses or pockets, create your own coffee shop mug club by offering a custom branded coffee mug and special deals to keep people coming back. The types of rewards are up to you, but some examples of special deals include a free mug with joining the loyalty program, a free drink or discounted drink if you bring in your mug, and discounts on coffee beans or other products.

Not only does a mug club create a loyal customer base, it will continue to draw in new members and customers through word-of-mouth, social media, and in-person display. Think carefully about how to showcase the custom mugs for your mug club. You may want to create a display that features the mugs and deals near the door, in order to catch the eye of first-time customers.  

Improve Your Social Media Presence

Social media allows your customers to interact with your business, creating a more lasting impression. With all the different social platforms available, the options for engagement are nearly limitless. You can do things like run contests, encourage people to tag you in their posts, or offer discounts if a customer follows your page.

People enjoy the feeling of “winning” something or getting something for free with little effort on their part, so keep your social media presence simple but obvious, and be sure to offer rewards for easy tasks like tagging. Post your social handles near the cash register or on each table, and utilize hashtags to make it easier for your customers to engage.

Become More than just a Place that Serves Coffee

Host—and advertise!—special events that will transform your coffee shop into a destination, rather than just a convenient place for someone’s coffee run. Here are just a few examples of potential events.

  • Open mic night
  • Karaoke
  • Book club
  • Live music
  • Bingo night
  • Craft fair
  • Movie night

Some events might be more realistic than others, depending on the size of your space and the kinds of customers you’re hoping to attract. But offering a rotating variety of exciting events is a great way to keep customers coming back. And make sure to put up flyers or announce upcoming events well enough in advance so that customers are aware of what’s going on at your coffee shop!

Create a Specific Ambience with Branded Merchandise

Grey Fox Pottery Sock MonkeyWhen it comes to how to build customer loyalty at your coffee shop, it’s important to look inward at the space you’re providing your coffee connoisseurs. Do you want people to linger in your shop, having conversations, doing work, and potentially purchasing multiple drinks? Or would you rather attract customers who reliably come in every single morning and get their coffee to go? You can convey this through the thoughtful decorating of your space. While bigger pieces like chairs and tables are important, the little accents are what truly make your coffee shop memorable. This can mean everything from the kind of napkins you use to your coffee mugs.

A good mug is essential to your customers’ coffee-drinking experience. Some people consider the container their coffee is served in as important as the kind of coffee being served. With that in mind, ensure that you make an impression on your first-time customers by providing their drinks in custom branded mugs, rather than mass-produced ones. You want the name of your business at the forefront of their minds, in order to ensure they keep thinking about your shop and the coffee they ordered. Plus, you’ll get some free advertising from all the people who upload pictures of their unique coffee cup to their Instagram

Let Grey Fox Pottery Help You Create Return Customers

Grey Fox Pottery has been creating custom branded merchandise for our customers for over 28 years. With a wide variety of mugs that can feature your shop’s logo, there’s something for every business. Our minimum order of 48 mugs is perfect for smaller businesses looking to upgrade their customers’ experience. Give us a call today to learn about pricing or to place an order!