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Using holiday promotions to build repeat business

"Should we run a holiday promotion?"

Hi there,


It's that time of the year again when love is in the air, flowers and chocolate abound, and your coffee shop becomes a sanctuary for those seeking warmth and possibly a sweet meet-cute.


The question for you is: should you run holiday promotion for holidays like Valentine's Day?


My take on these promotions is a bit different than most.


They're more than simply a discount strategy; they're an opportunity. An opportunity to not just pull customers in with the allure of discounts but to create something far more valuable: lasting loyalty.

Coffee is a habit

Running promotions for a coffee shop is different than an e-commerce business, for instance. One particular reason is that most e-commerce stores don't sell products that are already part of their audience's daily routine.

Here's the truth: Coffee isn't just another purchase for your customers.

It's a daily ritual, a slice of their day that they're almost always willing to invest in. This gives you a unique advantage, especially during any special holiday.

So, let's get real - getting a surge of customers through your doors on a single day might feel like a win, but it's just the tip of the iceberg.

A better success metric is: repeat business

Craft a remarkable experience

Discounts are nice, but they're fleeting.

They might get you a crowd, but what happens the next day? Back to square one.

This is where you need to shift gears from transactional to transformational.

Create unique experiences around the holiday that resonate with your brand and your coffee. Think of these promotions not just as a way to sell more coffee but as a chance to sell your story, your ethos, and the unique vibe of your coffee shop.

Instead of "20% off for Valentine's Day!", what about "A free rose for our first 50 customers!"

Instead of "Free drip coffee all day!", why not try "We hired a photographer to take a cute couple's photo of you and your SO - for free!"

Create a memory that will engender your brand with your customer base, making it more likely that they'll choose your shop over the competition next time...and the next...and the next.

More holiday promotion ideas

Personalized Mug

Collaborate with a local artist or calligrapher to offer personalized mug decorating. Customers can purchase a mug and have it customized with names, love notes, or unique designs. Once while visiting Germany, I saw artists using a special tool to engrave onto a ceramic mug in the middle of a Christmas market.

Photo Booth

As I mentioned above, having a photographer or photo booth is fun and very appealing to people in today's social-media-heavy world.

DIY Gift-Making Station

Set up a station in your coffee shop where customers can create handmade Valentine’s Day gifts or cards. Provide all the necessary materials for crafting custom cards, love coupons, or small trinkets. This can be a standalone event or an added attraction to your coffee shop leading up to Valentine’s Day, encouraging customers to enjoy a coffee while they craft.

"Love Notes" Wall

Put up a bullet board next to a table with some index cards and pens or markers. Customers can write anonymous love notes and put them on the bulletin board. Other customers can read these for encouragement and maybe even take one they feel especially connected to.

The real magic: brand loyalty

Remember, the goal is to turn those one-time visitors into regulars, into part of your coffee shop's community.


This Valentine's Day season, go beyond the discount.


Create experiences that linger, that turn first-time visitors into loyal customers who can't wait to come back.

Your challenge

Run a simple promotion now, but with a twist.

Think about how you can elevate the experience, make it unforgettable, and most importantly, how it aligns with your brand's story. It doesn't have to be big, expensive, or planned well in advance.

But do make it unique.

Ready to transform your holiday promotions and build lasting loyalty? Make this Heart Day not just profitable, but truly remarkable.

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