Community involvement and mutual support are important ways that a small business becomes a permanent fixture and beloved feature of its community’s landscape.
Cafes and coffee shops already tend to be community hubs. They draw customers from a base of locals that represent every intersection of life while still pulling a healthy percentage of clients from tourism. Coffee shops are in a unique position to leverage that visibility to benefit their community and themselves.
On the surface, this can seem like a lot of work, but there are many benefits your small business can gain from community partnerships beyond a sense of altruism and stellar brand image. The goal is to find ways you can benefit from these partnerships equally, whether that’s through attracting new customers, generating more revenue, or gaining access to services at discounted prices. Think of these partnerships as investments as well as services to your community.
This article gives you 6 ideas for ways your coffee shop can partner with other local businesses to the benefit of everyone.
While some coffee shops serve food made in-house, others want to focus on the coffee part of their trade. For them, providing customers with high quality food offerings can be a hassle. Instead of selling sup-par snacks or splitting your focus by trying to perfect food service addition to your coffee shop, try sourcing your treats from a local bakery, bagel, or donut shop. You could also try to negotiate a deal where the bakery returns the favor, sourcing their coffee from you, generating revenue for both parties.
If you already use local ingredients, selling them as retail is something to consider. If you have the products available it is much easier to upsell customers from one cup of tea to an entire box of that same special blend from the local herbalist.
There’s great potential for cross-marketing with this strategy, too. In exchange for helping your customers discover great local goods, think about ways that those businesses can do the same for you. Maybe that herbalist advertises that their blends can be tried at your shop. In order to make sure the strategy is working for you, consider using programs such as Clover Promos to announce your new retail offerings. Similarly, Clover Feedback can help you identify where people are hearing about your coffee shop.
Hosting events that bring larger numbers of people through your doors can help keep sales up during the slow spring season. Consider offering local artists or merchants the opportunity to create a mini market in your space for a weekend. While customers shop, you can be sure they’ll want a drink or a snack to accompany them.
Especially for new businesses, cash in liquid form can be tight. It’s worth exploring ways you can exchange your products or services with other businesses to help you access the services you need. A year of free drip coffee could be exchanged for the graphic design services of a designer that loves your products already.
This can also work in the other direction. Your shop can show appreciation for community support through offering your unique resources. For example, maybe the local bookstore sells your coffee and shares that it’s become a customer favorite. Roasting an exclusive blend for them to sell can show your appreciation. Maybe there’s a local office that orders coffees and donuts every Friday for the entire team. Offering locals discounts, or a catering service for bulk orders can help them out while building loyalty for your shop.
Creating merch for your business can be time consuming and expensive. Partnering with local artists is a great way to promote community art, but it also gives your shop the opportunity to have truly one-of-a-kind branded items, like t-shirt designs or quality made ceramic mugs with your brand name on them.
Another way to bring local arts into your space is by using your walls as gallery space. The art provides decor for you and visibility for up-and-coming artists.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to support your community is through donations to local charities. The Clover App Market offers numerous apps that let customers donate at checkout, either by rounding up their bill or tacking on a small amount. Donate is a great option that is free for Clover merchants.
Partnering with local charities also offers a great social media opportunity for both you and them. For example, if you choose a charity of the month you can spotlight them on your social media channels each month This can create the kind of brand image that will make people want to choose your shop to provide things for them in the future while providing a boost for that charity too.
After surviving two years of the covid-19 pandemic, it’s more obvious than ever that community support can make or break a business. Becoming a staple in your area can help ensure the longevity of your business by building loyalty with not only customers but also fellow business owners.
Learn more about how Clover is helping coffee shops engage customers and keep them coming back.