Archive for March, 2010

Customer Incentives – Keeping Your Business Recession Proof

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Customer Incentives – Keeping Your Business Recession Proof

While it’s always great to see new faces walk into your shop, repeat business & regular customers are absolutely integral to a company’s success.   A loyal regular customer is not only going to contribute to your income via the direct purchases they’re making, but they’ll also be the driving marketing force behind the growth of your customer base, at a grassroots level by spreading the goodwill via word of mouth.

There’s no better advertising than a genuine, word-of-mouth, recommendation.

Customer incentives are an easy, profitable and fun way to increase repeat business.  Here are a few ideas to keep your customers interested and excited for their next visit:

  • E-mail Lists & VIP Coupons
    • Give your customers an opportunity to provide you with a valuable connection to their lives outside of your store.  With your customers’ e-mail addresses you’ll be able to advertise what’s going on, like up-and-coming entertainment, music or art shows. Send out VIP coupons and specials via e-mail; your customers gain the benefit of special discounts & knowledge and you gain the benefit of internet connectivity.  Place a sign-up sheet on the counter or maybe note cards on the tables to collect addresses.  Anyone can enjoy a 10% off coupon that only requires them to hit “print”!  Many of our customers utilize e-mail tools such as Constant Contact or Mail-Chimp.  These programs are inexpensive and help your shop send eye-catching, professional e-mails.
  • Customer Loyalty Cards
    • Buy 10 drinks, get 1 free – these can be absolute gold among your customers.  They literally demand repeat business!  You can find really inexpensive ways to have them made too!  (We’ll go step-by-step in creating them using the website Vistaprint.com in a later blog) Depending on the things you offer you can have item specific cards as well, one for food, one for coffees, one for espresso-based drinks, etc.  It’s a great way to simply reward your customers for their business, not to mention a great way to advertise.  Every time your customers open their wallet or purse, your brand is peering back at them!

  • Loyalty Card Lottery
    • Give all of those used-up loyalty cards one last hurrah!  Have your customers write their names on the back of the cards once they’re full and drop them in a bucket/jar/container etc.  Once that container is full, sift them all together and pick a few cards.  1st place gets free coffee for a month, 2nd place gets a $15 gift card & 3rd prize gets a free pound of coffee or a free meal depending on what you offer.  Obviously the prizes are interchangeable but make them good ones!

  • Sporting Events & Award Shows
    • Hosting event-specific contests is a great way to entertain your customers.  Set the tone by creating the atmosphere of the event throughout your store or coffeehouse.  Get your customers to submit their predictions for the outcome of the big event and offer prizes for the winners. There are so many fun events to pick from throughout the year, Super Bowl, March Madness and the Oscar’s are just three to have fun with.  You can even create local events with a pumpkin carving event or scarecrow- making challenge and have your customers vote on their favorite.  The creator gets the prize, your customers have fun, the community gets involved, and you get some potential press.

Enriching your customers with events, contests & incentives           is a great way to remind them why they’ve chosen the                      right coffeehouse.

The important thing is to keep your customers excited, involved participants in your businesses success.  If you are encouraging them through participation, as well as maintaining a high degree of quality with the atmosphere, service and food and beverages, your customers will have every reason to promote your business to family, friends and associates.

Prepared by Tanya Baszner – Customer Care Representative