In 2018, the US coffee shop market grew to over $45 billion, with over 36,600 stores across the country. While a lot of stores belong to chained brands, such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, more and more independent shops are carving a spot to call their own in a competitive market. Indeed, more and more coffee enthusiasts are looking for a unique experience with their favorite brew. There’s plenty of room for independent business owners to tap into the interests of an educated and savvy audience. But at the same time, it’s essential to provide the same level of service than your customer would get in a branded chain.
Too many independent coffee shop owners forget to prioritize their customer expectations as part of their decor. While an independent shop can be the stage in a more rustic approach, it doesn’t mean that you should miss on some essential factors, such as:
A menu that blows your customers away
Your customers have probably experienced the likes of Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons before they’ve diversified their search for good coffee to include independent stores. As a result, they’re used to updated and modern visual displays when it comes to the menu. If you want to appeal to coffee amateurs, a digital signage would allow you to capture an image of each type of drinks, which can be useful – not everyone knows the difference between a Cortado and a Ristretto, for instance. Additionally, with the popularity of Veganuary, it’s impossible to ignore the impact of the vegan diet in everyday business. With customers demanding dairy-free alternatives to milk and vegan biscuits, you need to offer a diverse and inclusive selection of drinks and snacks.
Your interior says a lot about you
Your decor is your brand. It goes beyond the choice of furniture or colors. Ultimately, you need to find options that not only fit your budget but that also supports your vision. Creating a style that emphasizes the personality of your coffee while keeping your customers comfortable is significant. Independent shops prefer to focus their attention on reclaimed materials, which gives an eco-friendly finish. Additionally, using specialist materials on the wall, floor and ceiling can help to create a space that isn’t too loud – or that doesn’t sound too echoey which could be creepy for customers. Even though it is fashionable to create an atmospheric shop with dramatic lighting, do try to maximize natural light to make the room feel brighter and friendlier.
Go big online or don’t go at all
Last, but not least, you should seize every occasion to ask your customers how they like their #coffee. Indeed, Instagram is changing the way coffee shop promote their brands, encouraging bold creations and inspiring designs. The account @coffeeoprops, for instance, bring expert together to share their knowledge and passion around coffee, through artistic photos. There’s a lot of exciting ideas for you to learn how to make the most of each shot online by playing with the light, the colors and the contrast.
Independent coffee shops need to build a solid presence, in their premises and online, if they want to appeal to an audience of brew lovers. From offering practical solutions to introducing inclusive designs and menus, you need to make your shop everyone’s cup of tea… or coffee!
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