Christmas is a wonderful time transform your coffee shop and indulge both your inner Christmas fairy and your outer businessperson. The season of love and giving has a magic all of its own, but of course, if you have a coffee shop, it is also a fantastic opportunity to attract more customers through your doors. The streets are packed with shoppers who have fought crowds, battled with reluctant children and skirmished with exasperated partners. How can you best drag these brave and tired souls from the busy street and into the metaphorical arms of your coffee shop? We have devised a list of 7 ways.
1. Embrace the Sparkle
If you are going to “do” Christmas, then do it with enthusiasm. It is no use to try to energise your trade during the season if passers-by don’t know that you are doing it. So, dress your windows and decorate your store. It doesn’t have to be tacky: you can be cool and sophisticated, or you can go the whole hog with tinsel and baubles and fake snow, or you can find a spot somewhere in between. Customers like to feel a sense of personality in their coffee shops, so stay with what suits you and your coffee shop but show that you are as enthusiastic about Christmas as a little kid on Christmas morning, be unashamed and share the joy.
2. Be a Sanctuary
Often customers will come in looking for a few moments of peace and calm from the mad hustle and bustle on the streets and in the shops and maybe somewhere warm and welcoming to escape from the winter weather. Consider the ambiance you want to create to conjure up this haven. There are a number of factors which contribute to this: can you alter the lighting for a more subdued feel, have you chosen your music carefully, can you add some more cushions and a few throws around your seating areas?
3. Bring Christmas to your Coffee and Food
Christmas flavours in sandwiches and coffees are nothing new, and they are here to stay because they have become an extra feature of the season which helps make it special. We all still want Christmas to be an event, and that can include the changes in menu which only happen at that time of year. Variety is always important in a coffee shop to keep customers coming back and to attract new customers: Christmas is the ideal occasion to change your offering. A Christmas flavour for your coffee and maybe your hot chocolate too should be a priority and you can also bring Christmas to your food, in sandwiches or in the cakes you serve. There are so many flavours and aromas associated with Christmas that there is always something new to try.
4. Christmas Gifts
We know we said that your shop should be a haven for your customers but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the Christmas gift market too. You have spent the year (and probably many years before) raving about the wonders of coffee, educating your customers and creating your own coffee shop, maybe it is now time for your customers to do the job for you. You will always have had bags of coffee and some shop merchandise available, promote these as gifts and put them together as gift packages, perhaps with a slight discount as an extra incentive to make that purchase. If your customer can justify their coffee break as a part of their shopping trip, then all the more reason for them to walk through your door.
5. Team up with a Charity
For all the commercialisation and the grumbling around Christmas, the spirit of giving and sharing remains. If you aren’t regularly involved in a charity already, this is the most meaningful time of year to show that you are giving back to the world. We realise that this isn’t necessarily a completely altruistic step as it will in turn make customers feel more warmly about your shop and your ethics and perhaps gain you more custom and loyalty, but that in its turn increases your opportunities to raise funds for your chosen charity. If you don’t already have a charity which you favour, Christmas could be a fantastic opportunity to ask your customers to help you choose which charity you are going to support throughout the forthcoming year, maybe you could even have a regular customer poll every year.
6. Be ‘Crafty’ About it
You could add value to your offering by holding seasonal crafting events. The possibilities are endless, but you could have events such as wreath-making, making Christmas decorations or Christmas cards. Little pop-up events like these create a buzz around your shop and provide extra material for posting on social media. They also develop your relationships with the wider community which can be used during the following year in other promotions and opportunities to engage with the community and raise awareness of your coffee shop.
7. A Coffee Shop isn’t just for Christmas
After Christmas comes the aftermath: the lethargy of the dangerously overfed, the empty wallets, the obligation for family visits, the cold, dark, wet days of January. During the Christmas period is the time to protect your coffee shop against this whilst at the same time creating extra Christmas trade. Create seasonal loyalty offers and promotions which encourage customers to visit during the festive season and then return in January. Maybe you could have a Christmas-specific loyalty card with a higher return rate if redeemed during January.
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