If you’re a coffee shop owner, what happens on your website probably isn’t nearly as important as what happens within your four walls. After all, you don’t make money online — you make it in your coffee shop.
But what if you could make money online? What if you made improvements to your website that pushed even just 1%, 2%, maybe 5% more customers through your doors? Or elevated you to the top of the search results for that relevant phrase you’ve been targeting for years?
Your coffee shop website should be more than a placeholder. It should be a money-making opportunity all on its own. With some clever tweaks and experiments, you can make your coffee shop’s website work harder for you, increasing both your profits and foot traffic.
In this post, we’ll offer up a few ways you can make your coffee shop website more than somewhere potential customers go to verify your operating hours. Intrigued? Let’s get started.
Your website can help you grow your coffee shop
Your first reaction to this concept — working on your coffee shop’s website — or to some of the ideas in this post might be “this sounds time-consuming.”
Some of these ideas aren’t quick fixes. And some of them may be challenging, too. These ideas might push you out of your comfort zone, or ask you to learn something new.
But running a coffee shop isn’t easy, either — you know that. The only way to grow your coffee shop is to aggressively research and try new ideas. Sometimes it’s just adding a new menu item. In this case, it’s trying something different with your website.
Right now, your coffee shop website might just offer potential customers your hours of operation, a menu, and some background info or history. But by trying just one or two new things, you might be able to increase the amount of visitors who make it through your doors. So just as it is with those new menu items, by trying something out, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Let’s explore a few growth ideas.
Offer a mobile-friendly menu, or multiple convenient formats
Most “coffee shop, restaurant, cafe marketing tips” lists start with the obvious. Put a menu on your site. So you’ve probably already done this.
But there’s something else to consider. Pull up your coffee shop’s website on your phone, a tablet, or a family member’s mobile device. Take a peek at the menu. How readable is it?
Potential diners are increasingly using their smartphones to find coffee shop’s, make decisions, and view menus on the go. A study found that 83% of consumers rely on their smartphone to make a dining decision while traveling — and 33% of those polled specifically cited mobile-friendly menus as more influential than any other information.
Having an online menu is one hurdle cleared, but it won’t win you the race. To accommodate visitors on all devices, your menu should be mobile-friendly (that is, responsive). Uploading a scan of your paper menu won’t cut it — rebuild it from scratch, and remember to keep it up to date!
You might also consider offering multiple formats, like PDF and in-page, so that visitors can easily save your menu for later and view it on their device of choice. You can also add your menu to review and location sites that support it, like Yelp and Foursquare, which can help establish consistency with potential customers who reach your site from other destinations (or vice-versa).
Sell and ship a signature item, like specialty coffee blends, a dessert, or a shirt
Most coffee shops have a “thing” — something they’re known for above almost all else. Maybe it’s the signature coffee blend. Maybe it’s the double chocolate chip cookies made from scratch. Or maybe it’s a saying or slogan.
Your “thing,” whatever it may be, doesn’t have to be confined to your coffee shop. It can make you money online. And the best part is, you already have a proven concept and paying customers.
Just about anyone can open an online store these days, but most eCommerce websites have to build their audience over time. It takes time and effort to collect those first few paying customers. As an established business with existing customers, if you decide to sell something that’s already been proven popular, you have a huge advantage.
So what should you sell on your site? That’s up to you. Think about what your customers say is unique, or what has emerged as a unique selling point for you, and how that might translate into one or more sellable items.
A few ideas that can translate to online sales:
- Bags of your various coffee blends! Maybe offer a “Signature Coffee Club”, where your customers can order 5 different coffee blends and have them delivered to their door every month.
- T-shirts with your coffee house name and slogan.
- Boxed mix of a popular dessert, like cookies or cupcakes.
- Gift certificates for friends and family.
- Any other goods that you sell in your coffee shop, like artwork, can be sold online.
You could make a nice bit of extra profit from selling online, and you’re not confined to your local market! Consider trying just one item to start, and see how comfortable you feel with growing your store from there.
Create unique content that’s worth talking about
One of the biggest challenges that coffee shop owners face is getting more visitors through the doors. Depending on your location, if customers can’t find you online, they might not even know you exist.
But standing out online is harder than it sounds. Keywords are competitive, and search engine optimization is time-consuming. So what can you do to get noticed?
One thing you can try is the production of unique content for your coffee shop website. Content — like blog posts, infographics, videos, and so on — is readily consumed by those who are hungry for information. It’s also highly attractive to search engines, much more so than the simple words you might place on your homepage to describe your coffee shop.
Unique content often has a domino effect. Let’s say you write a blog post about an upcoming promotion relevant to your coffee shop — like “Buy mom a $25 gift card for Mother’s Day and get a free drink for yourself”. This might happen:
- You share the post on social media.
- Your followers notice your shares, read the post, and share it themselves.
- From one of these shares, another website owner notices the content and links to it.
- From this link, your site gains increased authority, which helps your ranking.
- This process repeats with a few more posts, and your authority increases over time, causing you to outrank your local competitors.
Content isn’t just about getting higher rankings, of course. Content also helps you stand out from a consumer standpoint. Someone who is looking for a coffee shop might be more likely to choose the establishment that gave them valuable tips or ideas in the past than the one that ranks #1 in a search Or the one that has some really great YouTube videos demonstrating the art of making a latte.
What unique content can you create that helps you stand out and get noticed? It doesn’t take much time or money — but it can have a huge impact on your business, and how your website is perceived.
Your website should be much more than a placeholder
There you have it. Your coffee shop’s website doesn’t have to be a placeholder, or serve as a simple two-page destination where visitors can find your hours. There are multiple ways to make it work harder for you, and these are just a few of them.
Have any questions about making the most of your coffee shop website? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.