A new season brings change in customer traffic, and as fall approaches, many customers fall into “hibernation mode” and skip out on their afternoon coffee. As a coffee shop owner, you have a unique power to instill energy and a sense of community in your neighborhood, so here are eight ways to harness that power to bring more people into your coffee shop this fall:
Pumpkin spice it up!
There’s a reason why Pumpkin Spice is everywhere come the first hint of leaves changing color. It may seem overdone, but fall is the kickoff to seasonal celebrations, and customers love to get into it. Consider a pumpkin spice flavor for your drinks or hot cider if you want to avoid pumpkin. Switch up your food or bakery items to include fall-inspired options (pumpkin, maple, or even just fall-themed shapes). Create signage to proclaim your fall-inspired menu items in the windows, near the checkout line, and bright and bold on the menu boards. Changing up your menu brings customers in to try something new and also shows that your product is applicable to the changing season.
Decorate your shop with fall flowers and leaves on the tables, add small gourdes and mini pumpkins near the register, and update the colors of your menu board signs. Get your creative employees in on the decorating action. Some seasonal décor shows that your shop is fun and personable, but beware of going overboard. Too many fake spider webs or scarecrows can come off as cheesy and distracting. Keep everything simple and make it compliment your store’s existing décor.
Plan a seasonal event
Host a seasonal event at your shop to encourage fall spirit as well as drive customers to your store. Hold a coloring contest or craft event (think leaf tracing) for the children in the neighborhood and display their art on one of your walls. Take part in your city or neighborhood’s various fall events such as Harvest Festivals or pumpkin patches. Ask how you can get a booth or stand to sell coffee at the event. Be creative. As a coffee shop owner, you have a unique retail space that can mold itself to almost any type of event while providing coffee to the guests.
Nobody can pass up a good promotion or sale. There are plenty opportunities to work in a fall-themed promotion to bring in the customers. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so consider holding a promotion to get customers to donate money to breast cancer research or announce that a certain percentage of proceeds will be contributed toward breast cancer research. Daylight savings is also in fall. Consider offering a discount or free extra shot of espresso the week leading up to the time change for anyone who comes in and is starting their work day before the sun rises (they probably need an extra boost of caffeine). On Halloween, give discounts to trick-or-treaters (kids will need cocoa or cider to warm up, and parents might need some coffee to keep up with the impending sugar rush). All season long, consider holding a buy one seasonal drink (pumpkin spice latte, cider, etc.) and get the second seasonal drink half off. And don’t forget to put your summer merchandise on clearance!
Open mic night
Open up your store to a regularly scheduled event. As the season progresses, the colder air keeps people inside and the earlier sunset makes them turn in for the night sooner. Holding an event gives customers an excuse to leave the house for some fun. Hold an open mic night, a poetry reading, or craft night. Ask nearby stores or neighborhood artists to collaborate with you for your event. This event will create a more personal, community vibe for your shop and get customers feeling more comfortable in your shop and wanting to come back for more visits.
Adjust your hours to accommodate holiday shopping
Nothing can make the holiday shopping quite complete without a beverage from your favorite coffee shop in hand (especially if it’s going to be a long day). Consider adjusting your hours to accommodate shopping and holiday schedules. Ask your employees if they would be available for different hours around the holidays (specifically Black Friday morning) and spread the word that your shop will be open to facilitate your customers’ caffeinated shopping needs.
Offer free Wi-Fi
If you don’t already have Wi-Fi available for your customers, this could be huge for your store. Not only will you attract the growing number of telecommuting workers, but your store will also be a great study spot for students as midterms and finals rear their ugly heads. Place a “Free Wi-Fi” sticker in your window to let customers know. If your shop already has Wi-Fi, make sure that all other factors make it a work or study-friendly spot. Do you have plenty and accessible outlets? If not, consider placing power strips and extension cords around your shop. Keep music at a lower-than-distracting level and consider ordering more tables and chairs to accommodate more customers.8 Ways to Bring More People Into Your Coffee Shop This Fall Chad Halvorson