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How to create a digital transformation strategy for your café chain

Posted by the Wi5 Team8th October 2019General

Coffee is one of the world’s hottest commodities, with over 400 billion cups consumed worldwide each year. Competitors – giants like Starbucks – have used branding and technology to corner this bustling market for the last 20 years with undeniable results. Series of complete digital transformation have been used to smooth the path to purchase, increase productivity and reduce inefficiencies from supply to service.

To compete with these big brands in introducing powerful new technology, you’ll need to be flexible and able to adapt your plans as new, relevant opportunities come into market.

‘It feels like we’re at a tipping point where, from the outside, technology like mobile ordering has been around for a while, but businesses are only just now putting them at the top of their agenda.’ – Gavin Peters, Chief Strategy Officer at Wi5

So, how can you digitally transform your café chain?

Lay the groundwork for integration

Technologies that don’t work together, don’t work. You need a point of connectivity to tie your tech suite together. In the food service industry, this is often the point of sale (POS) system. And, an outdated system impacts your whole strategy. POS systems that aren’t cloud-based or that don’t have the capability to integrate are major blockers to digital transformation for cafés. Software providers might be happy to create custom adaptors to integrate with different systems, but the foundations have to be prepared, first.

Use customer data to personalise your roadmap

Step aside cash; data is today’s currency. A Japanese coffeeshop chain called Shiru Cafe, with locations in several countries, has taken loyalty schemes to the next level by introducing a ‘pay with data’ model. Customers get a free coffee in exchange for some of their personal information. We’re not saying you should exchange lattés for email addresses. But a good technology roadmap must have data at its heart. Find a means to gather, analyse, report and act on consumers’ behavioural patterns. That way, you don’t just spot the trends, you influence them.

Plan your marketing around the technology

Starbucks capitalised on their popular Pumpkin Spice range by expanding it year on year based on consumer insights. A good marketing plan did the rest: The Pumpkin Spice Latté has its own Twitter account with over one hundred thousand followers. And, 424 million cups have been sold in the US alone, despite the drink only being seasonably available, showing that scarcity tactics have their place. Basically, your investment in digital transformation has to include a way of getting the message out there.

Show customers that your café chain is up-to-date and actively cares about the customer experience, especially if you’re implementing customer-facing tech like a mobile Order & Pay solution. Also, get stakeholders (internal and external) talking about your digital strategy so that you can learn from their feedback and adapt your approach. This will give your digital transformation the best chance for success.

After all, one innovation could spark a hundred conversations.


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