Boost Café Sales with Accurate Customer Profiles
Posted: Apr. 11, 2018
Opening and running a coffee shop presents a few obstacles unique to the industry. For the purpose of today’s article, we focus on one issue that appears to confound even the savviest café owner: accurately identifying customers.
For cafes and coffee houses, it’s particularly difficult to identify one’s customer base because they tend not to be limited to one demographic. And for one good reason: Everybody loves coffee! You know it, we know it; it’s an irrefutable fact of life. It might even be one of the reasons you decided to open a coffee shop in the first place.
Despite that, coffee’s universality doesn’t “make” a business. You want to turn a profit and stay open for years to come. You need a concrete plan to do that, and one crucial part of that plan is to craft accurate customer profiles. Below, we show you how to identify three key points to create accurate customer profiles.
How to Craft Consumer Profiles for Your Coffee Shop
As defined by the Balance, “a consumer profile is a way of describing a consumer categorically so that they can be grouped for marketing and advertising purposes.”
In addition to marketing concepts, consumer profiles would also serve to influence decisions on just about everything related to your coffee shop, including the menu, floor plan, packaging, and music.
Here’s how to craft consumer profiles that are accurate and inspire smart business choices:
First, spend one week watching your customers. Watch how the demographics might change throughout a day. For instance, you might have students buying coffee in the morning, single mothers visiting the café in the afternoon, and professionals popping in throughout the day for a caffeine fix.
If this picture sounds familiar, then it’s no wonder you’re having a difficult time identifying your core customer. You have a melting pot of personalities and lifestyles walking in and out your doors.
To determine who your target audience is, look beyond the traditional traits like age and gender; focusing instead on the following three points:
Why are people coming to your coffee shop? This is an important question to ask. Your customers’ intentions for coming in also inform how they will spend time there, which you can then use to create the ideal environment that keeps customers coming back.
People tend to fall into two categories:
- The come-and-to-go’s—This group comes in for a coffee and leaves right away with their coffee in a to-go cup.
- The stay-awhile’s—This group of customers drinks their coffee sitting down at one of your tables (or booths) and lingers awhile.
If you primarily attract the come-and-to-go’s, their intention is to get a great coffee as fast as possible. How well are you executing quick service?
- Are there any obstacles in the pathway from the door to the cash register? If so, remove them. Customers should be able to easily walk in and out without bumping into tables, chairs, counters, waste bins, or people.
- Do you schedule enough people behind the counter? Don’t make the mistake of understaffing. The more hands on deck, the faster orders can be taken and coffee made. (In this case, Starbucks sets the model example for behind-the-counter staffing.)
- Do you have an optimal point-of-sale system? If not, upgrade to a coffee shop POS system that accepts multiple payment types, processes credit cards quickly, splits checks, and can pull up real-time sales reports.
There are many ways of giving good, fast service. Make changes, ask customers for feedback, and performs test runs to get your service up to speed.
If your customers tend to stay awhile, identify why. It could be:
- To study alone or in a group.
- To meet with friends.
- To have a 15-minutes work break.
- To read a book.
- To sit outside and enjoy the day.
Once you recognize why people come to your coffee shop and how long they stay, you can:
- Create a floor plan that optimizes sales opportunities.
- Choose more comfortable tables and chairs.
- Select appealing music (such as soothing jazz for the quiet study groups or energetic mixes for the social crowds).
If you get both types of customers, merge the store concepts and accommodate both.
Recognizing customer preferences is essential. In some cases, it might be obvious. If you have a certain theme, you would be attracting people that gravitate towards this idea.
For instance, if you have a large outdoor patio, you might attract more dog owners.
Once you identify the dominating style (and lifestyle) preferences of your customers, then ask what else you can do that would make your customers happy. Going back to the example of owning a dog-friendly café, you might consider stocking up on pet water bowls or selling dog biscuits. If this gets a good reaction, you know you have accurately identified a consumer preference.
If it wasn’t already and you want to turn this into a core concept of your café, there are many marketing avenues to explore in the future. Everything from changing the menu and website to partnering with a local pet shop is an option.
The type of lifestyle consumers live are a great indicator of the type of café they are attracted to. One of the best indicators of lifestyle is location, for instance:
- Financial city centers would bring professionals in that need a quick coffee or a sophisticated place to have a meeting.
- A rural area would indicate that customers enjoy the outdoors and lead active lifestyles.
- A university neighborhood or town would attract young students with a limited budget in search of a comfortable place to pass the time.
Not only is location one of the most important factors to consider before opening a restaurant or café, it’s a factor that continues to influence your business and impact its success. Just about everything related to your coffee shop will be influenced by its surroundings, your customer base, and their lifestyles in particular.
Use these three points—intentions, preferences, and lifestyles—to create accurate customer profiles and make changes to your coffee shop according to your customer base. By giving customers what they want and need, long-lasting success is imminent.
Posted: Apr. 11, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois
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