The season is once again upon us and everyone is looking forward to some festive holidays. 🎄🎉
However, this year it may look a little different. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many families won’t be able to spend this holiday season together, shops won’t be allowed to open and budgets will be a lot tighter. As a coffee shop, options may seem a little limited. But the good news is that there are still many ways to promote your business during the festive period that will help make sure you hit the ground running in 2021, all while remaining 2020-friendly.
This great promotion tactic is a popular one amongst chains and coffee shops: selling a limited edition of drinks and food that are specifically made for the festive period. This could be new gingerbread cakes, eggnog, sweets and holiday-themed drinks (pumpkin spice, anyone?). Starbucks exceeded its quarterly forecasts in 2018 thanks to its Christmas themed drinks such as the Peppermint Mocha and Gingerbread Latte. Apparently, the Pumpkin Spice Latte even has its own Twitter account…
Why not pull a Starbucks strategy and offer some new, creative, holiday-themed drinks? Let people know about your new products in the window of your coffee shop so passersby notice. Stick on a QR code so they can scan it and instantly access your online menu. If your coffee shop is forced to close, they’ll still be able to access your online menu and order online; you can then offer a click and collect option so customers can easily pop in after buying through your online menu.
This year, Christmas will look a little different for families. People will be celebrating festivities in small groups, staying in their local area and ordering takeaway rather than eating at a restaurant. Consider using this as an opportunity to sell Christmas packages specifically for these customers. This could be a hamper with some Christmas pudding, a holiday-themed takeaway menu or a holiday gift pack. Some cheery and delicious Christmas food and presents will put the twinkle in the eye for some, even if it’s just for a brief moment.
Don’t dismiss doing themed packages for New Year’s Eve either. Most people will be staying in and eating the last dinner of the year at home. What are some special drinks and foods you can offer to families and friends who still want to celebrate? With a click and collect feature, you can offer simple takeaway dishes, gifts and drinks without putting anyone at risk.
Although this year we may not be able to stay with family or travel, we can still buy and send gifts (thankfully!). Most people will want to exchange gifts, but many might be on a tighter budget than usual and won’t be able to give those gifts in person. As a coffee shop, you can offer unique and personalised gifts that won’t cost too much. These could be gift cards, coffee shop subscriptions, funny mugs, DIY recipes and cute tea towels.
Consider taking this to another level by offering to gift wrap and deliver those gifts for an extra fee, along with a special handwritten Christmas card. This is something that large chains such as Starbucks and Costa cannot do, but you can as a local coffee shop. Small actions like these will help create loyal customers who will be happy to return in 2021 and bring along some friends.
Many customers are actively seeking to support local businesses and would be more than happy to join a loyalty programme and refer their friends. Encouraging your customers to repeat-buy with a reward programme is an excellent tactic to encourage them to keep returning.
The traditional punch card was a simple and good way to do this - but in Covid times, it doesn’t work so well. The good news is that with an online ordering system you can implement your own loyalty programme. You can track how many orders each customer makes, and then offer rewards in return. Similar to the gifts, the rewards you offer can be a local coffee mug, a cake delivery or coffee subscription - surprise them, and they’ll be happy to keep ordering.
Although the Covid pandemic means that in-person attendance is low, the flip side is that more people are spending time on social media than ever (more than 40% of consumers have spent more time on social media due to the pandemic). This means there’s an opportunity for you to finally set up that Instagram account and get serious about social media marketing.
You don’t have to make it overly complex: start by launching a giveaway and offering a free prize - to participate, customers need to post a picture with your drink and use your hashtag. You can also offer rewards and gift cards to those who refer the most people or buy the most drinks. With social media, you’ll be able to promote your coffee shop online and get your name out there. And you can do that while remaining socially distanced and following government guidelines.
This year, our heroes are the healthcare and key workers who have kept the world running as we deal with a deadly pandemic. Many local businesses have been offering key workers food and drinks for free or at a discount, and some are raising funds to help with other costs. Many of these essential workers won’t be able to celebrate Christmas this year and will instead be ensuring that hospitals are fully staffed and able to manage the demand.
What can you do as a coffee shop? You may not be able to afford free packages and drinks for key workers, but you can offer customers the opportunity to do so instead. Customers who want to do their part in helping with the pandemic could choose to send a package, a free drink or a Christmas present to these key workers through your coffee shop. Another option is to launch a campaign to raise funds for essential charities in the UK.
Christmas is a time for generosity and giving, something which is especially true in the year 2020. Offering your customers the option to help others through your coffee shop will help increase awareness of your business and also play its part in helping with the current crisis.
Just because 2020 has been a rough year, doesn’t mean we can’t try to bring in some joy during the holiday period. As a coffee shop, there is a huge amount of pleasure that takes place with tasty drinks, delicious cakes and surprise Christmas packages. By unleashing your creativity, offering products online and playing a larger role in the local community, your coffee shop will survive the pandemic and you’ll hit the 2021 ground running.