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Coffee Shop Marketing Ideas

Coffee Shop Marketing Strategies

Coffee shops serve coffees, teas, deserts and light lunches in bistro-like settings. Small, local coffee shops can establish a solid reputation in their communities, attracting large volumes of highly loyal, sometimes daily patrons. Marketing a coffee shop requires more subtlety than other local businesses, however, as these establishments provide a highly social experience greatly reliant on word-of-mouth advertising and personal invitations from existing customers.

Suite of Services

Comprehensive marketing strategies begin with product and service development. Coffee shops can especially benefit from developing a wide, customer-friendly suite of services, since word-of-mouth advertising can be an effective way to turn large groups of people into loyal customers. Be sure to offer free Wi-Fi in your shop, for example, and to install electrical outlets at each table for laptops. Book live entertainment in your shop on a regular basis, host poetry readings and other events with a community feel. If consumers have more than one coffee shop option in your area, make sure your shop offers something the others do not, so that patrons want to bring their friends to see the difference.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a must for coffee shops. Loyalty programs can be as simple as punch cards with the promise of receiving every Nth cup of coffee free, which can be attractive to daily coffee drinkers. Consider taking your incentive programs to the next level to beat your competitors. Institute a more in-depth system that tracks the total dollar amount of purchases for each customer, for example, providing free products of some kind when customer spend certain amounts – possibly increasing the value of freebies over time.

Coffee Marketing

On-Premises Advertising

Advertising on your premises is also a must for coffee shops. All coffee shops should have a facade that clearly distinguishes the establishment for what it is. This means large windows (if possible) revealing the inside sitting area, tables set up outside and coffee menus posted outside. Set up clear and visible store signage, choose a highly-visible location and place small, movable signs by the road, by the sidewalk or in your outside sitting area. Selecting the right name can be useful for on-premises advertising, as well. Select a name for your store that immediately brings up images of a coffee shop.


Advertising Ideas for a Coffee Shop

Most coffee shops sell more than coffee -- they sell a whole lifestyle. While some caffeine addicts and coffee connoisseurs go just for the java, many people are attracted to coffee shop as a place to see and be seen. Towards this end, many coffee shops double as performance spaces, galleries and meeting halls. When advertising, coffee shops will often attempt to promote not just their main product, but give a sense of the establishment's atmosphere.


Description of Coffee-Making Process

Some people are extremely discerning when it comes to coffee. If the owner of a particular coffee shop has invested in top-of-the-line equipment -- the $10,000 espresso machine, the ultra-modern bean roaster, and so on -- he should be sure to make mention of this equipment in his ads. By describing the care with which each cup of coffee is made, the owner can potentially convince both coffee snobs and regular Joes that they're going to get a delicious cup.

Calendar of Events

If a coffee shop holds a large number of activities, it might want to work mentions of these events into its prints ads. In fact, publishing a print ad that takes the form of a weekly or monthly calendar of activities is a way of both getting the word out about these events and giving people an idea of the kind of crowd that attends the coffee shop. Letting people know that there are new events all the time would also give them a reason to come back.


Photos of Clientele

In keeping with the idea that a coffee shop is a place where you can meet people, a coffee shop might consider including some of its regular clients in its ads, particularly if its clientele is especially diverse or eccentric. Whether the ads are in print or on television, the coffee shop could include videos or pictures of the people who stop there regularly. With luck, potential customers will identify with these people and stop in for a visit.

Comparison with Corporate Chains

Traditionally, coffee shops have held an aura of creativity, free thinking and individuality. For some coffee shop aficionados, this ethos flies in the face of big chain coffee stores, where the interiors of franchises are nearly identical. To attract this crowd, a coffee shop may use ads that pit small, independent coffee shops against larger chains. These ads can celebrate the uniqueness of the local coffee shop as compared to its homogeneous mass-market counterpart.

Promotional Advertising

Use sales promotions and advertising together from time to time to give your shop a boost in new visits. Place coupons in local newspapers and magazines, for example. Leverage social media by posting printable coupons on Facebook and Twitter, or use a service like Groupon to distribute coupons to Internet-users in your local area.

Internet Link Building:

- local business directories within the area only
- links from the local bakery website they got their goods from
- links from the company that supplies their beans
- links from a few coffee shop directories

Market Analysis Summary

U.S. coffee consumption has shown steady growth, with gourmet coffee having the strongest growth. Coffee drinkers in the Pacific Northwest are among the most demanding ones. They favor well-brewed gourmet coffee drinks and demand great service. Eugene, OR, with its liberal and outgoing populace and long rainy winter, has traditionally been a great place for coffee establishments. Java Culture will strive to build a loyal customer base by offering a great tasting coffee in a relaxing environment of its coffee bar located close to the bustling University of Oregon campus.

Market Segmentation

Java Culture will focus its marketing activities on reaching the University students and faculty, people working in offices located close to the coffee bar and on sophisticated teenagers. Our market research shows that these are the customer groups that are most likely to buy gourmet coffee products. Since gourmet coffee consumption is universal across different income categories and mostly depends on the level of higher education, proximity to the University of Oregon campus will provide access to the targeted customer audience.

The chart and table below outline the total market potential (in number of customers) of gourmet coffee drinkers in Eugene, OR.

Coffee Shop Market Analysis


Target Market Segment Strategy

Java Culture will cater to people who want to get their daily cup of great-tasting coffee in a relaxing atmosphere. Such customers vary in age, although our location close to the University campus means that most of our clientele will be college students and faculty. Our market research shows that these are discerning customers that gravitate towards better tasting coffee. Furthermore, a lot of college students consider coffee bars to be a convenient studying or meeting location, where they can read or meet with peers without the necessity to pay cover charges. For us, this will provide a unique possibility for building a loyal client base.


Market Needs

General trend toward quality among U.S. consumers definitely plays an important role in the recent growth in gourmet coffee. Additionally, such factors as desire for small indulgencies, for something more exotic and unique, provide a good selling opportunity for coffee bars.

Industry Analysis

Coffee consumption has shown a steady 2.5% growth rate in the United States over the last decade. In 1994, total sales of coffee were approximately $7.5 billion with gourmet coffee representing 33% (or $2.5 billion) of that. The retail coffee industry is flourishing in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The local climate, with a long rainy season, is very conducive for the consumption of hot non-alcoholic beverages. At the same time, hot dry summers drive people into cafes to order iced drinks. Further, coffee has really become a part of the lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest. Its discerning coffee drinkers are in favor of well-prepared, strong coffee-based beverages, which they can consume in a relaxing environment.


According to the 1997 Oregon Food service Statistics (NAICS 72), Eugene had 45 established snack & non-alcoholic beverage bars (NAICS 722213) with total sales of $14.2 million. Among other establishments that offer coffee drinks to their customers are most of Eugene's limited- and full-service restaurants. Java Culture's direct competitors will be other coffee bars located near the University of Oregon campus. These include Starbucks, Cafe Roma, The UO Bookstore, and other Food service establishments that offer coffee. Starbucks will definitely be one of the major competitors because of its strong financial position and established marketing and operational practices. However, despite of Starbuck's entrenched market position, many customers favor smaller, independent establishments that offer cozy atmosphere and good coffee at affordable prices. Cafe Roma is a good example of such competition. We estimate that Starbucks holds approximately 35% market share in that neighborhood, Cafe Roma appeals to 25% of customers, The UO Bookstore caters to another 10%, with the remaining market share split among other establishments. Java Culture will position itself as a unique coffee bar that not only offers the best tasting coffee and pastries but also provides home-like, cozy and comfortable environment, which established corporate establishments lack. We will cater to customers' bodies and minds, which will help us grow our market share in this competitive market.

Buying Patterns

The major reason for the customers to return to a specific coffee bar is a great tasting coffee, quick service and pleasant atmosphere. Although, as stated before, coffee consumption is uniform across different income segments, Java Culture will price its product offerings competitively. We strongly believe that selling coffee with a great service in a nice setting will help us build a strong base of loyal clientele.