How to Better Communicate Your Bean-to-Cup Coffee Program to Customers

Over the last two years, bean-to-cup coffee programs have become more and more popular within the convenience store landscape. By individually grounding and brewing the beans, these new high-tech machines promise a fresh, hot cup of coffee on demand.

Putting customers in control of preparing their own brew allows store associates to focus on other tasks. Another positive associated with this innovative coffee service is that it helps eliminate excess waste as described by Kum & Go’s senior category manager, fountain beverages, Connie Kelehan.

What’s not to love.

Change Can Cause Confusion

Whenever retailers introduce new technology, such as bean-to-cup coffeemaking to their customers, situations can arise. As with everything new, there’s a learning curve. Shoppers may not know how to use the new machines.

Adapting to new tech takes a few go-rounds. From that first time standing in front of a “place your own order” sandwich kiosk or “mix-your-own soda” style machine, everyone has experienced that “What do I do?” or “How do I do this?” moment. Whether it’s short on time or other customers lining up, the pressure builds to hurry up and get that order placed. It’s uncomfortable and can lead to a negative customer experience and maybe even a missed sale.

GSP created this easy step-by-by step direction with frame kit signage for MAPCO’s bean-to-cup customers.

How to Create a Better Coffee Making Experience

“A simple way to solve customer confusion is by providing them easy-to-follow instructions illustrating how to use the new machines,” suggests GSP Chief Creative Officer Steven Cohen. “Why not create point-of-purchase (POP) instructions written and designed to match the c-store retailers’ brand?” added Steven.

Here are some examples of how GSP’s team of design, marketing and visual merchandising experts can help develop instructions tailored to your stores and can even provide the hardware system that houses the signage. This system can be switched up with a variety of messaging anytime and is constructed to fit and work with most coffee setups.

Why Stop With Coffee? More Messaging Ideas

In addition to the new brewers, other programs and equipment may seem slightly tricky to shoppers. Clear communication is the key to creating positive customer experiences.

Consider creating similar how-to or simplified step-by-step signage for the following:

  • Rewards and Loyalty Programs – you’ve excited your customer, now make sure they know how and where to download apps, how to earn points or access mobile app offers.
  • Car Wash – from how to pay to possible car wash loyalty programs, put c-store shoppers’ minds at ease as to how to use the equipment or how to earn free future washes.
  • Curbside Pickup – do customers know the drill for picking up curbside or mobile orders? If not, signage letting them know you need the make and model of their vehicle and how long they should expect to wait, can help.

Providing shoppers with a few simple words can go along way when it comes to direction and keeping the flow of customers moving. To hear more tips and tricks or to get started on signage geared toward assisting your customers, contact us today. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid

Pantone just revealed the Pantone Color of the Year as PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid. This has become a Pantone tradition for the past decade where they have highlighted colors such as Emerald, Tangerine Tango, Turquoise and Tigerlily.  In order to determine the new color each year, Pantone looks for trends in a variety of industries such as technology, fashion and film.

New colors inspire new designs

Designers throughout the world use the Pantone system as a foundation for their designs.  Many look for product design inspiration and by specifically calling out a color, Pantone helps specific products stand out from the crowd.  Purple is associated with luxury, imagination, sophistication, rank, inspiration, nobility as well as madness and cruelty.

See also: Color is Significant Sales Driver

In the retail world, colors can help persuade customers’ buying decisions. Companies looking to launch a new product could utilize the new Radiant Orchid color in their packaging to give customers a feeling of sophistication when they are using the product.  A coffee shop, for instance, could launch a new flavor of coffee in the Spring in a vibrant Radiant Orchid cup to entice customers to try it.

Source: Press Release – Pantone Reveals Color of the Year for 2014

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What are your thoughts? Write in the comments below.

Effective POP Design - Part 1 of 2: Typography and Color

Effective POP Design - Window

An effective sign must meet two challenges: it should capture the consumers’ attention and it should clearly communicate the offering. Designers achieve a balance between these two priorities by leveraging the basic elements of POP design: typography, color, product image and shape.

In this two-part article, we explore how top designers leverage these basic elements of POP design to develop signs that sell:


Visibility, legibility and readability are three main considerations when choosing the right typography and message for a point of purchase graphic or sign.

First, choose a bold typeface style that is easily legible and has sufficient spacing between letters. Sans serif fonts and open styles such as Verdana tend to be more legible. You should work with a lettering style that works visually, yet still affords prime readability. Avoid thin or fancy script lettering as they decrease visibility – especially when signs or banners must be read from a distance.

When designing your sign, consider how far away the readers will be. For example, if you are placing a sign inside your store, your text only needs to be visible to the people in the store. 1-2” letters will work. However, if you are hanging banners and want drivers on a nearby highway to be able to see them, design your letters at 3” or even larger. Your sign’s size will also determine the height of the lettering you should use. A good rule of thumb is every 1 inch of letter height provides 10 feet of readability with the best impact.

For readability, less is better – keep copy short and clear. For best results to engage the customer, use a “call to action” that is readable and understandable at a glance.


Choosing the right colors will not only help get your POP noticed, it can also help you set the tone or support an established company message. Use colors that are in your company’s logo, product’s logo or colors that will increase the “eye-catchability” of your sign. 85% of shoppers place color as a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.

A high color-contrast factor will make your signage easier to read, and there are
certain color combinations that are more legible than others. The most easily read combinations are black on yellow, white on black or yellow on black. Other effective color combinations are black or blue on white, and white on blue. Backgrounds and lettering with similar color intensities are not necessarily good choices, as they lack adequate contrast. Similarly, a too-bright background with colored lettering gives an illusion of motion
or vibration.

Color also has the unique ability to attract specific types of shoppers and change shopping behavior. Red, orange, black and royal blue attract impulse shoppers. Navy blue and teal attract shoppers on a budget and pink and sky blue attract traditional buyers. Yellow is an attention-getter, black represents power,
and green is positive and calming.

Also, it’s important to note that 8% of US males are color-blind. Use color combinations that retain contrast when viewed by color-blind people. Blue and yellow, for example, are a good combination, but blue-green or aqua on white or gray are difficult combinations for a color blind person to read.

Color is Significant Sales Driver

GSP provides design services for many leading retailers. Click here to see how our Design Services team can help bring your retail vision to life… from concept to store-level execution.

Retailer Focus: Dunkin' Donuts

POP Lessons From a Coffee Leader.

Dunkin' Donuts Store Front

Dunkin’ Donuts has over 10,000 current locations worldwide with over 7,000 throughout the United States. With a focus on coffee and baked goods, the growing chain has built a strong brand in the coffee arena in recent years, and is on an aggressive path to add more stores.

The new Dunkin’ Donuts stores have a fresh, modern feel with the inviting aroma of coffee and pastries. There are coffee displays and standees with large coffee photographs near the entrance and coffee counter. The menu panel has many offerings but clearly highlights new drink and food items for big idea impact. On the exterior, there are large iconic coffee images for powerful brand identity that is visible from the street.

Dunkin' Donuts Window

To market and communicate their large variety of coffee flavors and product offerings, Dunkin’ Donuts utilizes a variety of big window signs, produced and contour-cut to different cup designs. The cup decals are simple, with minimal copy and without a highlighted price, but they have big impact. The coffee signs wrap the building.

They communicate their heritage and tagline (America runs on Dunkin’) though their napkins, cups and other product packaging. The brand presentation is consistent across POP and packaging. They also use their primary coffee cup to highlight their new coffee offerings, such as the new Dunkin’ Dark Roast.

Key POP lessons from Dunkin’ Donuts:

  • Large in-store signage with bold photography for best visibility and strong coffee impact
  • Strong brand identifiers with prominent logo and iconic coffee images outside the store
  • They let the drink tell the story with key brand messaging and new product offerings promoted on the coffee cups
  • Use a variety of cup designs to market the drink offerings boldly on the windows with large sign decals contour-cut into different cup shapes
  • The signs also do not highlight a price—it’s all about the experience of the coffee drink
Dunkin' Donuts Store Front

Dunkin’ Donuts strong branding initiatives, logo, tagline and iconic coffee graphics all talk to coffee – resulting in an effective, cohesive marketing campaign. Their bold signage choices work well inside and outside the store to build brand recognition that drives sales and customer loyalty for repeat business.

GSP designs and produces innovative POP signage, such as the contour-cut window signs shown here, for many leading retailers. Click here to see our portfolio.

View our Branding Success Stories Contact Us Today!

Add an In-store Coffee Bar

A sit-down coffee area can build brand loyalty and increase sales

In-store Coffee Bar

Looking for new ways to drive traffic into your stores? Add a store within your store. And a coffee bar could be your best bet. According to a WhiteWave Foods study on coffee consumers, coffee is the third-most-consumed beverage in the world behind water and soda. 150 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the United States every year and consumers average 12 coffee drinks per week.

Add an In-store Coffee BarOnly 11% of consumers say they never drink brewed coffee. One-third of coffee consumers drink it multiple times per day and the specialty-coffee segment is growing at 20% per year.

Very compelling statistics. So how to go about creating a successful in-store coffee shop? Creating a consistent image is important. If your overall brand is built on low prices and you drop in a high-end coffee bar, it’s a confusing message to customers. Do you cater to discount shoppers or higher earning latte sippers? Choose an image and stick with it.

An upscale coffee area can be a great way to attract younger shoppers. Adding amenities such as a gas fireplace, nicer seats and tables, flat screen TV and WiFi access can be worth it in the long run. Younger shoppers are lucrative because of what they develop into – you’re building brand loyalty with them over time.

Coffee services aren’t just for generation Y – all shoppers appreciate a place to sit down. Especially in small towns, in-store coffee shops can become the unofficial community gathering spot. And, the coffee area can boost bakery, deli and rest of store area sales by 15%.

The coffee bar could be self-service complete with a large assortment of coffees, creamers, sweeteners and flavorings, or it could be fully staffed. A coffee area can also get you started on the way to offering a complete dine-in area – gradually adding new items such as pastries, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps and hot lunch foods.