August 21, 2023

Building a Café Membership: Getting Started

"It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one."

This well-worn adage about the value of your existing customers has never been truer. Acquiring new customers is becoming more expensive, whether in digital or retail environments, which amplifies the importance of retention. A well-designed membership program can play a pivotal role in nurturing casual customers into die-hard fans. In this post, we aim to equip you with some innovative starting points to build a membership experience for your specialty coffee shop.

Remember, every café has a unique ambiance and clientele so nothing in this post is a rigid prescriptions. The key to a successful membership program lies in the flexibility to customize offerings according to your specific customer base, and nobody knows them better than you.

Start with Coffee Lover Personas

When it comes to building a membership experience for your cafe, the first step is to sketch out your customers different personas. In marketing parlance, a persona is a semi-fictional sketch of a customer. Personas are based on real data and research and are used to tailor marketing and loyalty strategies.

Your cafe likely has multiple personas such as casual customers who pop by when they're in the neighborhood, regulars who can’t start their day without their coffee fix, and coffee aficionados who practically live in your café. Sketch those out as simply as you can without getting too detailed.

Create Membership Tiers

Angle allows you to create one or more membership tiers. Personas unlock the value of multiple tiers by creating specific plans for different customer types. Alternatively, you may only want a single membership plan to start out and experiment with. There's no right answer here, but here are a few ideas: 

  • Casual ($25/month): Include three drinks per week to gently encourage casual customers to visit more often, without overwhelming them.
  • Daily ($50/month): Include one drink per day to lock-in your regulars and side-step the competition.
  • Unlimited ($100/month): Designed for the super-users, this plan offers a drink every 2-3 hours. It's perfect for those who like to work or socialize at your café.

You can customize the pricing, billing frequency (annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly) and specific benefits like free drinks and discounts. Angle integrates directly with Square so we pull in your menu and keep your items synchronized at all times.

Add Perks & Benefits

The sky is the limit when it comes to designing a program that's unique and personal. Here are some additional perks you might consider integrating into your plans to enhance their value and appeal:

  • Discounts: Provide a 5% or 10% discount on non-covered items as an additional perk to your members.
  • Drink Spiffs: Include the option to upgrade to your specialty drinks for a reduced additional cost, say $2 or $3 for members.
  • Whole Bean Coffee & Add-Ons: Allow members to add a bag of whole bean coffee or other goodies to their plan for an additional $15-20 for a 12oz.
  • Wi-Fi: Make your café a work-friendly space by offering secure Wi-Fi access exclusively to your members. With Angle, you can easily manage this feature.

Set Limitations

With Angle, you get total control over every aspect of your membership plan and tiers. This includes: 

  • The specific drinks offered in each plan and for each benefit.
  • The modifiers included in the plan and specific benefits.
  • Time-based limitations (i.e. valid after 3pm).
  • Frequency limitations (i.e. one drink per day).
  • Calendar limitations (i.e. Wednesday-Friday).

Remember, your ultimate goal is to transform every customer into a loyal fan who not only appreciates your coffee but is a true advocate of your café's experience. There's a whole world of possibilities to explore in creating a bespoke membership program that truly serves your business's needs and delights your customers.

Get The Ball Rolling

If you're curious about a membership program for your specialty coffee shop, reach out to schedule a demo or sign up for an account and connect Square. It typically takes 2-3 days to design and set up a program, with zero training and operational changes required. That's because we work with Square and your existing technology stack to add memberships, creating a powerful new revenue stream.