Selling Coffee to Millennials

Selling Coffee to Millennials - GSP

They’ve pushed demand to a record high and price is no object. Millennials sure do love their coffee. It’s more than a drink to them – it’s an experience. According to a Money Matters survey, that sought-after demographic of 18 to 35 year olds spends more on coffee than on saving for retirement. S&D Coffee says their coffee love is on another level. They summed up their findings by saying it’s an “emotional experience.”  “The language millennials use and the attitudes they have indicate that they are deeply connected to coffee,” the study states.

The National Coffee Association says the number of Americans drinking coffee outside the home is now at 46%, fueled by millennials in search of their morning fix. In just four years, the number of Americans grabbing their coffee on the go jumped from 13% to 36% among 18 to 24 year olds and up from 19% to 41% for those ages 25 to 39.

Here’s how to get them to go to your store for coffee…

Elevating the Basic

For years, foodservice operators have focused on meeting the basic needs of their customer: freshness, convenience, availability, consistency. But millennials have more sophisticated tastes than that. They have grown up with Starbucks, a place that has turned a cup of its coffee into a status symbol. They’ve created a new coffee culture by elevating the experience. There are baristas who personalize and customize their drinks, seasonal offerings to try, special promotions to entice and a relaxing atmosphere where you want to hang out and recharge. The market now has to compete with this new norm.

Millennials’ needs center around image and innovation. They’re looking for a place that cares about the environment, is ethically and socially responsible, involved in the community and offers high quality food as well. 45% of those surveyed would think more positively about places that did these things, especially if they served sustainably sourced coffee. 29% even said they’d go out of their way to find it. But don’t think this means you can just slap a sustainable sign by your coffee bar without the certification to back it up. “Sharp-eyed” millennials are “increasingly skeptical of unsupported language,” the S&D study cautions.

POP That’s 6X More Likely to Sell Product

Millennials are less concerned about a product’s attributes and more about how they connect with it. In other words, if you say your coffee is “fresh” or “convenient,” you’re not connecting with millennial drinkers. These are non-negotiable items to them anyway. The same can be said of POP that talks only to discounts. That won’t drive customer loyalty. Although millennials can be frugal, they love to spend money on experiences.

So what kind of POP will attract them? Emotion is what captures this coffee-loving crowd. Robert Passikoff, the renowned brand strategist, has said that 80% of all decisions are based on emotion. Remember the sustainability figures above? Sustainability drives sales because it taps into a subject they are passionate about. Millennial customers want to believe a company cares for the environment and the workers in the field picking the coffee beans. The payoff from understanding this way of thinking? Passikoff says you when you know what the customers value, you’ll be six times more likely to make the sale and keep them coming back.

Be True to You

Being authentic is also important to millennials. They like storytellers who engage with them and make them feel like they are part of what’s going on. They care about where your coffee comes from and what you stand for.

It’s been said that millennials hate advertising. Although they are very skeptical, it isn’t true. They do, however, dislike ads that aren’t relevant and slow them down (when they’re surfing or streaming). An in-depth NewsCred study said 64% of millennials respond more positively to brand messages that are tailored to their interests (entertainment) and 62% like messages that can help them solve everyday problems. Authenticity is about cultivating a life-long relationship with millennials so they get to know you and trust your brand.

GSP can help you make your coffee zone millennial-friendly. Contact us for more information.