How Technology Is Enhancing the Future of Coffee

Q4-Sunshine_Roasters-18A good cup of coffee has the power to brighten a customer’s day. There’s something magical about how the right blend of beans, the subtle scents of chestnut, chocolate, and caramel keep customers coming back for more. But it’s not just the coffee — customers also crave friendly, personalized service — a nod or a smile from their local barista, a custom recommendation or a cheery morning conversation — and it is these kinds of one-on-one interactions that inspired me to establish Sunshine Coffee Roasters over ten years ago. What is really exciting is that now, thanks to advancing technology, specifically social media and detailed, easily-accessible analytics, coffee is getting more personal than ever.

With the help of hourly reports and POS technology, coffee shops now have the ability to highlight trends, drive in-store traffic, and introduce customers to new products based on their individual preferences. The tools baristas and business owners now have at their disposal are more valuable than ever before, making it possible to bolster business and forge stronger customer relationships to create meaningful, memorable experiences.

Customer Relations

Exemplary service starts from the top. At Sunshine Coffee Roasters, we take great pride in hiring our team and providing excellent benefits — we consider them family. Several of our team members have grown alongside the company and even taken specialty classes to hone their skills. That care and concern filters down to our customers; we like to consider ourselves the “breakfast bartenders of western Sonoma County” and set a positive tone for the rest of their morning. Not only does our team recognize regulars and know their orders, but we work to expand their palate. Point-of-sale systems like ShopKeep can be used to quickly pull up a customer’s purchase history and suggest different brews based on their favorite flavors. Customers hugely value these personalized recommendations — in fact, 93% would share personal data in exchange for customized offers. Essentially, consumer data is a barista’s best friend, allowing them to better understand customer preference to make tailored offers.

Using Analytics to Boost Sales

Data can also be used to manage employees and the cost of goods more effectively. Through ShopKeep’s hourly reporting functionality, we noticed a significant lull from 3 to 6pm and decided to introduce our “Organic Happy Hour” with dollar coffee specials within this timespan. Doing so not only improved afternoon sales, but also helped convert infrequent customers into regulars who stop by once, twice, sometimes even three times a day. ShopKeep also alerts baristas of our most popular drinks so we can shift weekly sales accordingly. Thanks to these insights, blends that have been slower to sell are given an extra boost and, often, carry over on a more permanent basis, successfully encouraging customers to try new products.

Benefits of Social Media

Social media provides coffee shops with unprecedented access to customers, permitting them to connect with regulars on “their time.” At Sunshine Coffee Roasters, we’ve seen the positive impact of these interactions firsthand through our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, where we regularly share recent news, timely offers and a behind-the-counter look at our company ethos and culture. In this way, social media has served as an invaluable tool in acquiring new customers, enabling us to extend the conversation around our products to a larger audience and engage with them after regular business hours. Through these channels, shops owners have the capability to poll customers, hear direct feedback, encourage user-generated content and reward fans with special coupons and discounts. Back-end admin tools supplement this experience, allowing shop owners to see which of their posts are performing best and adjust content accordingly.

Streamlining the Shopper Experience

Shop owners should look to diversify offerings across the board, from product to method of payment. After adopting ShopKeep’s reusable gift card, we noticed a number of customers began buying pre-paid gift certificates for themselves. Often, guests will purchase a gift card on Monday and use it for the rest of the week so they don’t have to worry about carrying cash. Other shops are turning to NFC technology like Apple Pay which allow customers to make a purchase with just the touch of their finger. Shop owners should be mindful of customers’ preferences and partner with a technology provider that offers guests the flexibility to pay as they please.

Q4-Sunshine_Roasters-10 Above all, customers are not only looking for a quality product, but someone they like and trust to serve them their coffee. Because of the hard work of our employees and the customer relationships they establish, Sunshine Coffee Roasters has been fortunate to roast organic coffee for two Sonoma locations, as well as local retail, grocery and mom & pop shops. Since then, the resources we’ve learned to embrace have helped our brand flourish, enhancing the customer experience and enlightening us to make smarter, more strategic business decisions. Technology ensures the future of coffee will be bright — we’re excited to see what comes next.

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