Tips Coffee Shop Owners Can Use to Differentiate Their Brands and Bring in New Customers

Posted on June 13, 2017 by Ash Bennett

There has been an enormous increase in the number of coffee shops and the variety of coffee drinks consumers can choose from, and that is both a benefit and a curse for the owners of independent coffee shops. On the one hand, the proliferation of chain coffee shops and the expansion of their offerings has raised awareness among customers and increased appreciation for coffee beans in all their flavorful glory. On the other hand, the sheer number of coffee shops and the generic nature of their offerings has made coffee into a mere commodity.

If you want to succeed in this brave new world, you need to differentiate your brand and build a unique identity. It is not enough to give your customers the best coffee in town, although that is obviously a great place to start. If you hope to succeed for the long term, you need to create a space where customers will be happy to spend their time, and their money. Here are some tips to help you differentiate your brand and build a better coffee shop.

Create a Sense of Community
A coffee shop is more than a place to drink your favorite caffeinated beverages. A quality coffee shop is a place to linger, and a place where customers will be happy to spend their time as well as their money.

The coffee shop owners who are able to foster a real sense of community are the ones most likely to succeed. There are many ways to build that sense of community, and the techniques that work best will depend on the nature of the neighborhood, the type of clientele and the creativity of the coffee shop owners. Here are just a few ideas coffee shop owners can use to build a great community as well as a great business.

Partner With Other Local Business Owners
If your coffee shop is adjacent to a movie theater or independent bookstore, offer discounts and coupons to their customers. You could, for instance, ask the theater owner next door to offer discounted movie tickets to your customers. You could then return the favor with a free pastry with a valid movie ticket.


Offer a Performance Space for Local Artists
Coffee shops are natural hangouts for artists and musicians, and owners can use that natural symbiosis to their advantage. From hosting open mic nights and offering stage space to local folk groups to filling their wall space with the offerings of local photographers and artists, there are plenty of ways to build a sense of community through artistic expression.


Buy Local
Buying local is another great way to foster a sense of community. From the berries in your fruit smoothies to the beans in your espresso, expressing a preference for local growers will help everyone. You can even host special nights where the local growers and partners who make your business possible are honored.
Focus on Quality Over Price
Everyone wants a great price, but when it comes to coffee, quality trumps low cost every time. Real coffee drinkers know the difference, and they are willing to pay more for top quality beans.
Focusing on quality over a low price tag is a great way for coffee shop owners to differentiate themselves and build their brands. There are many ways to express this differentiation, from giving preference to environmentally friendly growers to offering a wide variety of different beans from all over the world.
As a coffee shop owner, you already know how difficult it can be to compete with the big chains and create your own identity. Those big coffee chains have a number of built-in advantages, from greater buying power to a nearly unlimited advertising budget. What they do not have, however, is the local knowledge and smart business sense that only a truly independent coffee shop owner can offer. Coffee shops are more than places to eat and drink. They are communities where local people meet, and where they, along with the owners of the business, build a real and lasting sense of community.


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