Get Your Coffee Under The Tree: Holiday Sales Ideas For Coffee Shops
The holiday season is quickly approaching. Every year around this time, we all start thinking about Christmas gifts for friends, family, and colleagues. But, the question is, how do you get customers to think about your coffee when thinking about those gifts? Well, the first step is to have amazing options that bring them in.
1. Wrap Up The Merch
So, the first thing on our doesn't get your coffee under your customer's tree, but it does get your brand there. People like supporting their favorite businesses. Offering simple merchandise lets your customers show that support.
But, to sell merch you need to have nice, high-quality merch. Work with designers to put together your travel mugs, apparel, and other items. Consider your brand when deciding what you want to stock. If your coffee shop serves island-inspired coffee, then selling fuzzy socks and hoodies won't make sense to your customers.
- LOAFE Café's red mugs
- Kaffé Karma's hoodies
- Coava Coffee's blue-speckled mugs
- 49th Parallel's tote bags
- Milltown Coffee's t-shirts
- Buddy Brew's dog leashes
2. Prepare Coffee & Tea Samplers
Samplers make the perfect adult stocking stuffers. By selling sample sizes of your coffee beans and your teas, your customers can buy many kinds and use them to fill loved-ones stockings.
Think about the easiest way to introduce your coffees and teas to new people, and package the samples accordingly. That might be K-Cups, tea bags, instant coffees, or pre-ground beans. Have these ready to go and advertise them throughout your location.
3. Sell Pre-Made Gift Boxes
Pre-made gift boxes and baskets are the go-to for many people looking for a gift for someone they don’t know well. They’re simple, easy, and have a bit of everything in them.
First, decide what you want to go in your box. If you roast your own coffee beans, center the box around a full-sized bag, or a couple of smaller sample-sized bags. This will introduce your coffee to the recipient.
Consider including merch (mugs, hats, t-shirts, etc) that you sell in your coffee shop. Take a look at what you sell, and what your customers usually buy as gifts for other people.
Next, source a good supplier for your boxes or baskets. Then, it’s simply a matter of putting them together.
Mike Ayars, owner of Turnstile Coffee Roasters in Belmar, New Jersey, changes their box design every year. They put a lot of thought into their yearly gift boxes, and in turn, it’s become their staple of the holiday season.
In a #LocalBites podcast episode, he explained how their gift boxes work:
“What we're kind of known for in the area, we create these gift boxes. It started with gift baskets, but gift baskets are very hard to wrap.
“And, again just watching other businesses. Gift boxes are fantastic. We get this beautiful box designed and with a little packing stuff in there, and then you just put everything in and close it and it's just, it's so easy to make and so easy to ship. So we do a great gift box business.
“We have two sizes. And, we'll have businesses order some for their customers, or we'll have individuals buying them for local and for also for shipping out. So that's our holiday approach. And it ends up turning out to make December.” - Mike Ayars, owner of Turnstile Coffee Roasters
Equator Coffee Roasters in Ottawa, Ontario has also found success with gift boxes. They've found that customers like the convenience, especially customers ordering online. They are happy to ship the gift boxes to any address, and the festive packaging makes them a perfect long-distance gift.
Equator Coffee advertises its Holiday Bundles aggressively leading up to Christmas. They use their newsletter, social media, website, and mobile ordering app to promote the holiday bundles.
4. Give The Gift Of Gift Cards
Or, at least help your customers give the gift of gift cards.
Gift cards let your customers treat a friend, coworker, or family member to one of your fresh beverages. A gift card to a coffee shop is great because it can be a small token of affection. While gift cards to many retailers need to be for $50 up to be useful for the recipient, a $15 gift card to your shop can buy the recipient a coffee.
For your gift card sales to succeed, you need to make it easy for customers to buy them. List them for sale on your online ordering site, mobile app, and in person at the cash.
5. Hold Special Classes & Events
January can be a pretty dreary month if you have nothing to look forward to. As many consumers move towards minimalism, gift-givers are looking to buy experiences for their friends and family.
Think of community events and classes you can plan for January. Then, make sure you have everything arranged with lots of notice so you can sell tickets throughout December.
Seth Weber, co-owner of Mocha Nut Coffee has offered coffee-tasting classes in the past, and they've always been a big hit with their customers:
"As most people know, the aroma is a big part of tasting. You know that when you plug your nose and eat something it's way different than when you're breathing while you eat. So that was one part of the tasting experience.
"We had these vials of different smells, and it was like a game. We just had a bunch of different vials of different smells and it was a kind of blind tasting, blind smelling, and writing down which one of the flavours you thought it was. Thinking about things separate from the taste at first.
"Then, we were tasting a couple of different types of citric acid, and whatever was in there so that we can describe the coffee. This was so that we can describe the coffee. It tastes like it has a little bit of citric acid kind of flavour in it because there are natural flavours that come out in the coffee. Unless you taste it by itself, sometimes you're not going to know how to describe it.
"So that was a lot of what we did that day, then we did different roast levels and different regions." - Seth Weber, Co-Owner of Mocha Nut Coffee
6. Sell Syrups & Accessories
Like merch, samplers, and gift boxes, selling syrups and coffee paraphernalia is a great way to branch out your non-coffee goods. Any of your customers that are interested in making their own specialty drinks would be interested in purchasing your ready-made syrups, whether you buy them wholesale or make them yourselves.
When deciding what merch to sell (see above), consider branded coffee tools, like tampers, ceramic drippers, and french presses. These accessories will bring your brand into your customer's homes, and make you an even larger part of their coffee routine.
Advertise That Holiday Spirit
No matter what you choose to add to your shelves this holiday season, don't forget to tell your customers about it. These sales ideas only work if you're advertising them.
Share your holiday spirit with your customers by advertising your events, merch, and holiday specials. Create an environment that makes your customers, and your team, excited about the season.
If you want to hear more about what other coffee shops are doing this holiday season, subscribe to the #LocalBites podcast. We'll be sharing conversations all December.
Elizabeth is the Marketing Manager with Craver. She worked in quick-service restaurants and bars before joining the restaurant tech industry in 2017.