There’s really nothing like sitting down to tackle an anticipated new book with a cup of coffee or tea in hand. Whether at home or away, sipping on a warm drink as you turn the pages is universally acknowledged as a relaxing and nourishing pastime.
The rise of online booksellers has many brick and mortar bookstores looking for ways to diversify and differentiate their customer offering. With coffee and books such a natural pairing, bookstore owners are considering adding a café to their existing store as a complementary revenue stream and compelling point of difference in a competitive market.
Read on for some thoughts about how adding a coffee shop to your bookstore can boost your revenue, attract new customers, and build loyalty amongst your current customer base.
1. A bookstore coffee shop will attract new customers
An enticing coffee shop is a great way to entice new customers into your bookstore. Locate the café in a spot where it can be seen from outside by anyone walking past, and promote your new addition to your mailing list, on your website and in local publications.
A café’s energy and aroma can really lift your bookstore. Look for opportunities to cross-promote the two parts of your business – maybe you could offer a free coffee for purchases above a certain value or each time you sell a gift voucher.
2. A bookstore café encourages customers to stay longer
If you already operate a book shop, adding a coffee shop gives your existing customers a reason to stay a little longer and spend more money. Create a welcoming space with comfy couches and chairs and encourage buyers to sit after purchasing.
If space allows, you might even consider creating a couple of private reading nooks in quieter corners of your bookstore. Lamps and soft furnishings can create atmosphere if you have the budget for some extras.
3. A bookstore coffee shop can integrate with your existing POS system
Bookshop management solutions like Booknet allow you to add a coffee shop to your current point of sale system with minimal hassle. Our Café module is a POS extension that lets you sell seamlessly from your coffee shop menu and regular inventory using one screen.
4. A bookstore café can be sized to fit your business
Start small when you launch your new coffee shop. Keep the menu simple – look at sourcing pre-made bakery goods and snacks from suppliers rather than making them onsite initially. Understand what permits are required and how long it’s likely to take to have your application approved.
You could look at cross-training your existing bookstore staff so they can act as baristas, but the coffee you serve must be excellent – people likely won’t return after a disappointing experience.
Draw up a solid budget and understand where you can afford to spend initially, giving yourself scope to expand your café offering in the future. You may not need an order printer on day one – but look for bookshop management software that integrates with peripherals like printers and touchscreens to give you flexibility.
5. A coffee shop makes your bookshop more memorable
A bookstore with a café has a unique, pleasantly different feel. Providing a place for people to sit and stay awhile creates a relaxed, welcoming environment that makes customers want to return. Done well, a bookstore with a coffee shop can become an important place for social and community connection.
Invest in quality coffee and food items to ensure your café delivers a professional and consistent experience. Update your menu regularly to offer variety – seasonal hot drinks and bakery treats are always a popular idea.
If adding a coffee shop to your bookstore is on your agenda, look for a bookshop management solution that will support you to manage books and beans in a simple and integrated way.
Booknet is more than a POS system – it’s an intuitive system designed for independent and small chain retailers to simplify the way they work, increase efficiencies and gain more time to engage with customers. Providing seamless integration with book industry tools and flexible ecommerce options, Booknet will help you to grow your bookstore without driving up costs.