Running a modern coffee business isn’t just about how good your cappuccino tastes (although that’s very important too), it’s also about how well you can connect with your customers, providing them with the right products at the right time. That’s where modern data science comes in, using information from a range of different sources to dynamically show the products most likely to be of interest.
It may sound like something that’s just for online mega-corporations like Google or Facebook, but the technology to allow businesses to target customers much more fluidly is getting better every day, with some of the big players already making major moves in this space.
McDonalds leading the way
You may have seen in the news this week about McDonalds acquiring the Tel Aviv based digital start-up Dynamic Yield. This is a big move for the burger giants and represents not only a desire to enhance their digital offerings, but by buying them outright and bringing them in-house it shows their intention to become real leaders in the technology of modern fast food. They trialled the use of Dynamic Yield’s capabilities in a select number of stores in 2018 and are set to roll it out across the US throughout 2019.
What this technology does is plumbs in several different feeds of useful data to a machine learning engine that decides what the best products are to feature on their digital displays at any given time, to help maximise both conversion and margin. This means information such as local weather, traffic updates, sales data, stock levels etc are all fed into an AI program, which uses sophisticated algorithms to decide which items are most likely to sell at any given time. McDonalds have been working hard in recent years to roll out digital displays and ordering systems both in their restaurants and drive throughs, meaning they are perfectly primed to take full advantage of this technology.
How coffee shops can learn from this
Most coffee shops may not have the same kind of investment power as a huge company like McDonalds, but you should definitely expect the big coffee chains to start following suit very shortly. As the technology becomes more readily available it’s only a matter of time before similar tools are available for smaller businesses too.
Here are some examples of the ways that coffee businesses could benefit from dynamic displays:
Weather based targeting – The weather here in the UK can never be relied upon, so imagine if you could promote the perfect drinks for the temperature without having to do anything! If it starts raining in mid-July you could instantly switch your displays from iced lattes to flat whites!
Time of day – Using historical sales data would mean you could automatically promote the ideal products for your customers, such as take-away items in the morning rush, and savoury food at lunch time.
Apps – Many big brands are already using apps, but using AI technology alongside it would mean having this new wealth of information, plus each individual customer’s preferences and purchase history. It could be as simple as opening your app and seeing exactly the drink you want without having to search!
Of course, most of this is a little way off in the future, but it’s clear how important it is to choose companies who really embrace technology and help to push the boundaries of what’s possible. WMF are one of the tech pioneers of the coffee industry, creating ground breaking functionalities like the automatic grinding and tamping in the WMF Espresso, combining real hand-made coffee with cutting edge automation. Or the CoffeeConnect app, which allows you to monitor all of your machines from anywhere in the world, so you can keep everything running smoothly without running yourself ragged!
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