Coffee is the second most sought-after commodity worldwide, according to recent statistics. Today, the industry is worth over $100 billion — $47.5 billion in the United States. As a result, coffee businesses operate in what marketers call ‘red oceans’ where competition is fierce, and players are fighting for a small piece of the pie.

But, if you are a café owner, you already know this! And if this article caught your eye, either your coffee shop’s sales recently took a hit, or you are looking for tactics that could help you maximize your business’ revenue. Whatever the case might be, know that many marketing strategies can help increase sales at your coffee shop.

Here, eight expert marketing strategies for coffee shops that have proven to be exceptionally effective when looking to increase sales:

1. Express your coffee shop’s personality
2. Establish a strong digital presence
3. Master social media marketing
4. Take advantage of user-generated content
5. Partner with local and well-established brands
6. Use in-store displays to your advantage
7. Create and promote loyalty and incentive programs
8. Boost existing sources of revenue

Below we will go over each one of them to help you better navigate the complex specialty eatery industry:

1. Express your coffee shop’s personality

One of the best marketing strategies for new and existing coffee shops is to express your shop’s personality. It is crucial that you set yourself apart from the competition and that all your branding and advertising efforts work hard to convey your shop’s ‘uniqueness.’

How To Increase Sales At Your Coffee Shop (8 Expert Marketing Strategies)A strong brand personality will go a long way when operating in a highly competitive market, especially when starting. It shapes the public’s perception of your business and helps you build strong, lasting relationships.

For your coffee shop’s personality to break through the clutter, you need first to understand what makes your brand, your shop, or your coffee different. Is it the price? The ingredients? The atmosphere? Is it a mix of all these things, or is it something else?

Once you figure out how you want to present your brand, you need to consider who you are talking to, which will heavily influence your tone, image, and reputation. Next, consider your target audience or ‘ideal customer’ and build a ‘persona’ that will resonate with them.

2. Establish a strong digital presence

It is no secret that we live in a digital world where it is very easy to fall through the cracks if you do not have a solid digital presence. Hence, your coffee shop’s marketing plan should include a good mix of digital strategies— from websites ads and SEO to peer-to-peer reviews and mobile apps.

Establishing a solid digital presence takes time, but an excellent place to start is developing a professional-looking website that is inviting and functional. The good news is there are many ways you can do this, including:

  • An eCommerce website
  • A Blog
  • An informational website
  • A simple landing page

You can also select a combination of all of the above to make sure you hit all the right notes.

Nonetheless, note that great-looking and interactive websites can be a hefty investment. So do not forget to set apart a budget for its design and development when drafting your marketing plan.

But, having a solid digital presence is not just having a snappy website. You need to invest in digital marketing, whether ads, promotions, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics, or all of the above. Paid advertisements on leading websites have proven incredibly successful if you want to tap into new markets or boost sales.

Lastly, do not forget mobile! Cell phones aren’t just for calling, texting, and selfies — they are also many people’s favorite point of purchase. Hence, expand your reach by joining popular food delivery apps like DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, and more. Nowadays, people expect businesses to offer delivery or be listed on food delivery apps.

3. Master social media marketing

You need to be on social media! Social platforms allow you to connect with your clients, increase brand awareness, and boost your leads and sales.

Thus, make sure you build an exciting profile across different social media platforms (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok) and make the most out of it! The key is to encourage interaction and to build a sense of belonging. As you might already know, coffee shops thrive on their environment, their ‘vibe.’ Thus, make sure you share your store’s vibe and personality across every platform and genuinely connect with your followers.

How To Increase Sales At Your Coffee Shop (8 Expert Marketing Strategies)

4. Take advantage of user-generated content

Now that you have a solid digital presence and a steady number of followers on social media, it is time to collect anything and everything your clients are posting, tweeting, and sharing about you.

Word of mouth is the most underrated marketing strategy there is! A recent Nielsen report showed that 92% of consumers trust suggestions from friends and family more than they do any advertising. More so, 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Hence, take advantage of user-generated content! For example, make sure you publish testimonials on your website, re-post reviews on social media, share your client’s tagged photos, and so on.

5. Partner with local and well-established brands

Another great way to increase your coffee shop’s revenue is by partnering with local and well-established brands. Bigger brands can help you reach new markets by acting as brand ambassadors for your brand, and so can the so-called influencers or digital personalities.

However, it is imperative to vet your partners and ambassadors carefully. The first and most important qualification for a brand ambassador or partner is to honestly believe in what you are selling and what you stand for. Second, you want to partner with brands or personalities that are in sync with your coffee shop’s vision, mission, values and that could reach the type of customer you are interested in captivating.

Think of these alliances as an extension of your marketing, of your brand!

Check out our tips for running a successful shop HERE.

6. Use in-store displays to your benefit

If you want to boost your sales, consider other products or services that could entice existing customers to try or purchase. Using attractive in-store displays to that end is a great way to increase profits.

A study reveals that 16% of unplanned purchases are driven by a shopper’s display while shopping. Thus, analyzing what you can include in your coffee shop’s displays — mugs, travel mugs, water bottles are an excellent place to start. You can even consider offering baked goods, granola bars, or other on-the-go snacks.

The goal is to maximize your coffee shop’s space to include eye-catching displays with products that can help you add a few bucks to an already open tab.

7. Create and promote loyalty and incentive programs

How To Increase Sales At Your Coffee Shop (8 Expert Marketing Strategies)Loyalty and incentive programs might be the oldest trick in the marketing bag, but they work. 52% of American consumers will join the loyalty program of a brand or business they make frequent purchases from, and less than 8% of consumers say rewards aren’t at all important to their purchasing decisions.

Why? Simple. People want to be rewarded for spending! The great news is, coffee shops present plenty of opportunities for incentive programs, from punch cards to store cards. The secret is to make sure your program is simple and easy to follow! If a client needs to jump through hoops to get a free cup of coffee, they might get discouraged.

8. Boost existing sources of revenue

Lastly, try boosting your existing sources of revenue. In other words, find ways in which you can maximize your net profits. Consider where and how you can reduce costs. Here are a few ideas:

  • Eliminate products that have slow rotation
  • Constantly revise your prices; you don’t want your prices to be too high or too low compared to your direct competitors.
  • Find ways to manage existing inventory more effectively.
  • Upgrade your point-of-sale system to help you better manage employees, operations and keep track of inventory and transactions.
  • Consider offering ‘bundles’ or ‘daily specials’ to boost sales and generate more traffic.
  • Make sure you offer seasonal and special menu items ever so often to boost sales and create hype.
  • Think about ways to make your shop more accessible (e.g., free parking, delivery, reserved parking spots for customers.)

These are all great marketing strategies to boost your coffee shop’s sales. But, not all of them will necessarily work for your coffee shop. Thus, pick and choose the strategy (or combination of strategies) that best fit your business model, which will resonate better with your target audience.

How To Increase Sales At Your Coffee Shop (8 Expert Marketing Strategies)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much money should small coffee shops invest in marketing?

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small to medium shop should spend between 7-8% percent of their gross revenue on marketing and advertising for their efforts to make a difference. Nonetheless, as an independent coffee shop or a coffee business just starting, this could represent a hefty investment and a complex number to calculate as you are operating primarily on projections. Therefore, consider spending between 2-3% of your initial investment.

To learn more on how to start your own coffee shop checkout my startup documents here

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.