Loyalty programs have proven their worth in the supermarket and various other retail industries, but when it comes to the corner cafe, do they make sense? Small business owners happily serving up caffeinated brews, hot or cold, know who their loyal customers are, but how long will that relationship last if the customer finds the same drink for less down the street?

Loyalty programs that are easy to use and provide rewards that mean something to each customer go a long way towards business success fueled by long-term customer relationships. The key is knowing how to execute the right way.

Keep it simple.

Around the world, people are addicted to coffee. In the U.S. alone, we spend approximately $12 billion a year in independent coffee shops. Whether customers frequent a cafe, large or small, they rely on those crafty concoctions for morning wake-ups, midday recharges, or evening unwinds. Making those frequent visits easier on the wallets prompts consumers to use loyalty programs, when offered. For those who visit different cafes throughout the week, this can add up to too many cards.

Reward smartly.

Loyalty cannot be assumed, it must be earned. This means learning more about your customers, what they like and how to best reward them. A smarter rewards program can do this easily by going digital. In a digital rewards program, a cafe owner can use data collected by the app to see what each customer buys, what they liked, how often they visited, and more. The detail by the data collection can be as fine-grained or large-scaled as desired, depending on the business owner’s requirements.

Personalized service.

It takes more than just a great rewards program to keep consumers coming back for more coffee. Make your café the go-to place for community engagement. Reward barista’s who get to know their regulars’ drinks, and go the extra mile to suggest drinks to try based on favorites. Personalized service on the part of your staff backed by data collected in your digital program will launch your efforts in loyalty promotion well beyond what either could do individually.

There’s much to gain.

While adopting a digital rewards program sounds like an expensive investment, nothing could be further from the truth. Scaleable solutions are readily available from providers, like Jayu, who can get you set up and running with minimal cost. As you grow, your system can grow with you – it’s up to you.

All it takes is that first step. Make your customers even happier with a rewards program that benefits your business, your staff and, most importantly, your coffee lovers.