loyalty programs in cafe For cafés and coffee shops, encouraging and incentivizing customers to return is critical to keep business successful and profit margins comfortably in the green. There are many ways to do this well. All of them include adding a loyalty component to your café point of sale (POS) system.

By marrying loyalty programs with café POS, café and coffee shop operators can:

  • Create repeat customers out of new ones. Most consumers will try anything once, but the trick is to keep them coming back. Cafés with comprehensive, appealing loyalty programs may have an edge when it comes to return business, incentivized by rewards.
  • Gain an edge over the competition. A National Restaurant Association survey found 90 percent of restaurateurs believe loyalty programs give them a competitive advantage. Loyalty programs can increase the frequency of visits as well as average check size.
  • Go beyond return on investment. The cost of implementing loyalty program solutions that dovetail with café POS is far lower than the price café operators would “pay” in lost business. Cafés and coffee shops quickly see ROI from loyalty program solutions.

The strongest loyalty programs offer a wide variety of options for reaching out to your customer base. Your most loyal customers should be able to receive valuable rewards from a variety of plans while you generate powerful marketing lists. Ultimately, any loyalty programs implemented from your café POS should:

  • Encourage customers to make larger purchases from the get-go. Upsell your café’s fare with a plan that’s based on sales. For example, offer a reward that gives customers a free meal or drink once they have spent $50 at your café. Customers will place larger orders to reach an award status more quickly.
  • Encourage customers to purchase in greater volume over time. Points-based loyalty programs encourage patrons to buy a certain number of a particular drink such as nine medium lattes, to receive a free one.
  • Incentivize immediate participation. Persuading customers to sign up for loyalty programs is one thing, persuading them to participate in these programs is another. Your loyalty program should make your patrons feel special. Offering the same 10 percent discount to everyone devalues your product and isn’t sustainable. Inviting your customers to your exclusive loyalty program will make them feel as though they are benefitting from being one of your regulars.
  • Include extra “perks.” The most appealing loyalty programs also feature special offers and “perks” to keep customers interested in them. Consider emailing or texting special coupons and offers to loyalty program members. . For instance, on slow winter days, entice loyalty program participants to stop in with a text to “buy one small peppermint mocha, get one free.”

Loyalty programs not only reward customers for their loyalty, they make customers feel appreciated. The more appreciated patrons feel, the more often they will frequent your café. Your reward in the form of increased business and success  will be as great as theirs.