3 Ways to Build a Loyal Customer Base for your Coffee Shop

The goal of every business is to build a strong customer base and have them coming back. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, especially if you’re in a very competitive sector like the coffee shop business. As more and more competitors are trying to gain some market shares over you, you have to be on top of your game and make sure that you use some creativity in order to keep and attract new customers. Here are some tips any coffee shop can use to build customer loyalty.

Start a Mug Club

If you want to start creating return customers, one thing you could do is start a mug club and offer discounts throughout the year to customers just for bringing their cup. You could start a loyalty program and give out free mugs after a certain number of purchases. Now, not only will you be able to spread brand awareness through the cup, but you’ll give them an incentive to come back. You could also bring in your mug club members when you’re launching a free product and have them test it out. You’ll then be able to gather some feedback from them and see if it’s a winner.

Start a Card-Based Loyalty Program

Since you’re in the coffee shop business, why don’t you look at what the big players are doing? Starbucks has had a card-based loyalty program for years that allows you to get points towards a free purchase and tons of other perks. They also allow you to double your rewards when you come in on certain days of the week.

This is not only a great way to get traffic into your store on certain days but has another function. With this kind of loyalty program, you’ll be able to get crucial customer information and make it easier to follow up on them if you have new products or special promotions.

Starbucks also allows its loyalty program members to make purchases through their mobile phones. This facilitates the buying experience and gives you even more insights on your clients and their buying habits, which allows you to craft specialized offers just for them.

Have a Great Product

This may seem simple at first, but there’s a lot that goes into brewing a great cup of coffee. Real coffee connoisseurs know where to get the good stuff and you’ll gain a loyal customer if you consistently serve great coffee. The keyword here is consistent, so you have to be consistent with your suppliers, freshness, and preparation.

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This is why you also have to make sure that you give your baristas the proper formation and that your managers and trainers are qualified as well. This is especially important if you serve a wide variety of specialty coffees. One bad experience could be enough to lose a customer forever, but a consistently good experience will always keep them coming back for more.


Making sure that you build loyalty with your customers should be your top priority if you want to enjoy any kind of longevity in this business. Make sure that you hire qualified and dedicated staff, incentivize loyalty, and focus on giving your patrons the best experience they’ll find anywhere.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.