The Coffee Experience: More Than Just Tasty Beans
Coffee is an invaluable and oftentimes indispensable element of our morning ritual, but how that cup of deliciously crafted caffeine is consumed continues to evolve. Coffee roasters and retailers face challenges to adapt to consumer trends and edge out competition in a market heavily influenced by a new wave of coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts. In a rapidly changing coffee world, industry professionals are in need of specialized technology that will bring clarity to consumer trends and provide direction for maximizing returns in a coffee market nearing saturation.
The National Coffee Association’s 67th National Coffee Drinking Trends Report offers valuable context for who is drinking what coffee beverage, by what preparation method, and why. Since 2008, daily consumption of espresso-based coffee beverages has almost tripled according to the NCA. The rise in popularity of gourmet coffee beverages only steadily increases as specialty coffee roasts such as single origins, espresso-based beverages, and frozen or iced drinks become the standard for younger coffee fans. Drip coffee is no longer the most commonly enjoyed preparation for beans and gone are the days when most drinkers brewed their own coffee at home. The needs of the average coffee consumer are changing as the shift in sales moves from ground coffee, brewed at home, to a single cup of specialty coffee consumed in public. The growth in popularity of specialty coffee has served as an attraction for new coffee businesses. Competition continues to stiffen in the industry, as the top twenty coffee retailers generate more than 70% of the sales in the U.S. As the coffee industry fragments, more direct competition exists between roasters and retailers of a similar size, heightening the need to understand the products and price points of the competitor.
Cafes and coffee retail spaces, whether pop-ups in trendy clothing apparel stores or on-the-go coffee brewers in custom outfitted cars or trailers, uniquely fit into the consumer’s desire to savor coffee beverages among community. Within the retail landscape, the complete experience of the coffee drinker is informed by the consistency of the customer service, quality of the products, and appearance of the café or franchise. Proper training for coffee preparation techniques and customer service interactions in retail cafes will enhance the consumer’s experience with your brand. GoSpotCheck can be used to monitor training by creating tasks designed to further staff education or find training bottlenecks.
Coffee retailers need to ensure that cafes are consistently and adequately brewing those carefully roasted beans. An overly coarse grind, poor water quality, or over extraction of an espresso shot will completely taint a coffee lover’s experience. The incorrect ratio of coffee grinds to water and the wrong water temperature will ruin your batch of drip coffee, which at your lowest price point, needs to be a consistently reliable drink. Data collection supports quality assurance checks for brew methods in cafes. GoSpotCheck is used by a number of restaurants to ensure compliance across multiple locations with regard to service, food quality, and health and safety standards. Training for baristas and consistency within customer service can also benefit from real time data collection, which would enable managers to correct behavior issues or fill in training gaps more quickly.
Coffee roasters of all sizes experience the impact of consumer trends and the rise in competition on their wholesale operations, which is why selling your premium, roasted beans to trendy cafes isn’t enough. The location of packaged coffee bags on retail shelves and whether those bags are properly faced and aligned with the correct pricing label will alter the consumer’s experience with your brand. Coffee roasters need access to visual documentation from all wholesale accounts that carry their brand. GoSpotCheck has a photo task that enables qualitative data collection and operates as an easy way to verify real-time marketplace activity. Pictures are aggregated in the GoSpotCheck Photo Viewer for clean, simple analysis.
Especially for small to medium sized roasters, brand consistency and awareness is the difference between a repeat consumer, a one-time consumer, and a devoted advocate for your brand. Within the café retail space, roasters need more data about the visual experience that customers have with their products in order to make sense of the sales at any wholesale location. Data collected in the GoSpotCheck application is aggregated in an online dashboard that can be customized to fit each business. Charts and graphs create an easily digestible, clean display. Data can be filtered to find the most important, relevant information.
As grocery stores have access to a wider consumer base than simply coffee drinkers who will self select to visit cafes, the consistent and proper stocking of your coffee bags on endcaps or in the middle shelves in grocery store aisles will create loyalty in consumers looking for your top selling roasts. Endcaps will receive more foot traffic and can make the difference between your bags of coffee being noticed or blending in. GoSpotCheck helps track marketing efforts and identify marketing opportunities like endcaps and displays. The large variety of question types within the GoSpotCheck platform provides flexibility and agility to execute strategy correctly.
Word of mouth is still a major source of marketing for small to medium sized roasters and coffee retailers, but as consumer trends continue to rapidly shift, a need for intentional and targeted solutions for growth becomes integral to any coffee operation’s long term success. New technology needs to meet the demands of a rapidly changing retail landscape in the coffee world. The more data that your coffee company can gather, the richer your understanding as to why consumers are choosing your coffee and how your story resonates with coffee devotees.