How to sell more coffee

The number of coffee shops in the UK has more than doubled in the past 10 years, from 13,000 to 25,000, so with literally thousands of options available to consumers, coffee sellers are having to work harder to attract and maintain customers. 

To increase sales of coffee at your café, canteen, restaurant, hotel or retail store it’s important to remember that coffee is about so much more than getting that caffeine fix, it’s a daily ritual that brings warmth and reassurance to our lives, preparing us for the day ahead. With that in mind, our coffee experts have compiled a list of 10 top tips that will help you improve the overall experience for your customers, as well as increasing your bottom line. 

All businesses are different, so what works for some, may not work for others, but without testing and measuring new sales and marketing strategies, your business won’t be able to grow. Whether you choose to implement all or just a few of our ideas, there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

Cafe Bonté Coffee Loyalty Card

Loyalty Programmes

Customers love to be rewarded for coming back time and time again, and it’s really easy to manage a loyalty scheme on coffee purchases. 

Your coffee supplier may be able to provide you with loyalty cards, otherwise, there are lots of online printing companies that will provide you with a template to design your own bespoke cards for free, with printing starting from as little as £15 for 1,000 cards. 

Hand the loyalty cards out to customers when they purchase their first coffee, then give them a stamp for each subsequent drink. When they reach 10 stamps they get a coffee for free! For regular customers this is extremely attractive, enabling them to get a free coffee every couple of weeks.

Quality Over Quantity

It may be tempting to offer a huge menu with a range of different drinks, sweets and savouries. In theory, this will enable you to attract a wider range of people and cater to more tastes, but in practice, it can actually be detrimental to your business. 

In 2005, a Psychologist called Barry Schwartz introduced the concept of the “Paradox of Choice” during a TED Talk. He concluded that choice has made us not liberated but more incapacitated, not happier but more dissatisfied. When people are offered too much choice, they get overwhelmed and are less likely to purchase. Therefore, strategically limiting customer choices will increase sales. 

Not only that, but training staff and managing stock for a large menu can be a huge undertaking that can lead to poor service, inconsistencies and significant wastage. 

Create a short, high-quality coffee menu that includes all the usual coffee shop favourites, but offer customers the opportunity to personalise their drinks with a selection of sizes and syrups. Offer these everyday menu staples alongside a couple of limited edition seasonal drinks to keep your menu fresh and interesting.

Seasonal Promotions

Create unique menu items that are only available for a limited time and focus these around the seasons. Short term menu items create a sense of urgency, which increases demand as customers don’t want to miss out. A great example of this is Starbucks who has created a cult following for its Pumpkin Spiced Latte, which is only available in the autumn months and yet has over 2 million mentions on Instagram alone. 

A prime opportunity for seasonal promotions is Christmas. People love to get in the festive mood and there are so many flavoured coffee syrups that can add an extra holiday twist to your drinks menu including egg nog, gingerbread and praline – all of which you can charge a premium for. Enhance your offering with a festive food menu. Think pigs in blanket paninis or brie, bacon and cranberry sandwiches. If you don’t have the facilities to make breakfasts and lunches though, then a simple tray of mince pies will soon sell out.

Likewise, in the summer months, when demand for hot drinks decreases, offer chilled options such as nitro cold brew, iced coffees and frappucinos. 

There are so many different holidays and events throughout the year that you can hijack for your seasonal menu to add variety and keep people interested. Don’t forget Valentines Day, Easter and Halloween.

Café Bonté Coffee Shop Table Talker

Increase Visibility

How can anyone purchase a product if they don’t know it exists? Ensuring your range is properly communicated to potential customers is essential for making sales. In a coffee shop, this may take the form of a large wall menu, at restaurants and hotels this may be in the form of a table menu. 

Make the most of all advertising opportunities within your premises, whether this be a trifold card on a table or placing posters promoting offers and events on the back of the toilet door.

Likewise, increase visibility outside of your business. A simple A-board can be used to promote your latest products and offers, enticing passers-by to pop in. If you’re a business that doesn’t typically sell coffee, then a giant coffee cup is a great way of letting people know that you do. 

Branded takeaway coffee cups are also a fantastic way of increasing the visibility of your brand within the local area. They’re a little more expensive but it’s worthwhile for the added exposure and increased brand presence.

Barista-Preparing-Coffee-1200x800px

Upselling

Upselling is a sales strategy where you present your customer with suggestions for a bigger or better product than the one they’re about to purchase, and it’s a technique that big food and drink chains have mastered. 

There’s a very good reason why you’ll always be asked if you’d like to “go large” at McDonald’s – because it makes them more money! According to research conducted by McDonald’s, 1 in 3 customers who are offered the opportunity to “go large” take the opportunity when asked. McDonald’s serves approximately 3.5 million customers every day and if a third of them accept the upgrade, this, in theory, provides an extra £460,000 revenue per day!

Upselling is a very simple technique that will increase your bottom line, as well as improving the overall experience for your customer by giving them the opportunity to enjoy a little something extra that they hadn’t planned for.

To succeed in upselling you need to ensure you have a well-structured menu. You’ll also need to get buy-in from your team, which will require training on the importance of upselling and how to do it. For coffee sales, the simplest upsell is to offer a larger cup size, a premium coffee bean blend or a complementary product such as a muffin or pastry. You can then incentivise your team by running competitions on who can sell the most upgrades.

Bundle Deals

Everyone loves a great deal and bundling items together for a fixed price is a great way to increase sales. At breakfast that could be a coffee and a pastry, at lunch a meal deal and in the afternoon a hot drink and a cake.

Retail Products

Your customers have already developed a taste for your coffee, so why not offer them the opportunity to brew their own at home? 

Bags of coffee beans have a great markup and can be extremely profitable when displayed and merchandised properly. A recent study found that 16% of unplanned purchases are made because display caught the shopper’s eye, so make sure your bags of coffee are beautifully displayed with clear labelling and pricing. 

It doesn’t stop at coffee beans either, there are loads of items you can sell to complement your coffee offering, from reusable coffee cups (make sure they’re branded!) to gift vouchers and seasonal gift hampers.

At Liquidline we have a range of products designed to help you promote your coffee offering, from point of sale to bespoke coffee cups and even custom branded cappuccino stencils. Plus, when you buy your consumables from Liquidline, you’ll get free service and maintenance on your commercial coffee machine.