Restaurant Success Tips

Dust off those shelves. Coffee shops have a unique customer base that stands and waits patiently (we hope) for their lattes—and not selling merchandise is a lost business opportunity. Calculate the average length of time one coffee takes to make. Those minutes could be spent checking out your café’s merchandise instead of idly scrolling through Instagram feeds.

Many coffee shops in the United States do offer merchandise, but many don’t seem to be selling it well (dusty wares being the primary indicator). People have the right idea, yet the execution is incomplete. When done right, merchandise can do more than generate a steady stream of revenue; it can elevate your brand.

Below, we present how to merchandise your coffee shop in ways that sell and boost your image.

How to Merchandise a Café

Selling merchandise at your coffee house, and moving a lot of it, is contingent on a complete understanding of these three points:

  • Know your customer base.
  • Have a well-defined identity.
  • Come up with a great plan.

What’s working for another coffee shop might not be right for yours, which is why the first two points are so important.

If your clientele is going to buy your merchandise, they must want it, and to know what they want. You must know your audience.

Sometimes, owners or managers are running a shop with an idyllic audience in mind, and miss the people standing right in front of them and lifting the veil to see who your customers are really makes all the difference in sales. Once you know who is buying from you, you can pick out the right styles and objects to sell. In time, you will learn which merchandise works, and what needs to be discontinued. Use the sales reports generated by your coffee shop POS system to make sure you capitalize on popular pieces.

It’s not all about the customer—your brand is just as important. Customers are choosing your café over others, and any merchandise they buy should be a happy reminder of your coffee shop.

The perfect merchandise merges the audience with the brand’s identity in easy-to-shop product lines. Here are some ideas for coffee shop merchandise that are ever-popular:

  • Bags of Branded Specialty Coffee
  • Travel Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Hoodies
  • Decals

Make Money with Your Merchandise

Now you know what type of merch to sell—it’s time to put a money-generating plan into play. Here’s how:

  1. Display small and cheap items as close to the register as possible. These grab-and-go sections are commonly found in big-box retailers like Sephora and Bed Bath & Beyond. The item is so inexpensive and so conveniently placed that customers purchase them out of impulse.

Try placing some small coffee bags near the counter that are less expensive than other merchandise in your store. You could also try coffee-scented candles, and votives that can be bought in bulk to draw in more impulse buys from your coffee shop customers.

  1. Save your pricier merchandise for the counter where customers pick up their coffees. They will need more time to mull over the product, and this location is the perfect spot for that. While waiting on their beverage, customers can peruse pricier coffee mugs, branded coffee-makers, and intricate decorations th