The perfect blend: The Coffee House partners with Signagelive to power expansion plans
Rapidly expanding coffee shop chain, The Coffee House, is serving the perfect blend of community spirit and technology, partnering with Signagelive, a digital signage solutions provider, to power its ambitious plans for change and expansion.
Already on course to fulfil its vision of becoming northern England’s number one coffee operator, the chain is set to double its growth within the next 24 months.
Since adopting Signagelive-powered digital signage via reseller, TenAV in 2019, The Coffee House chain has boomed, with plans already underway this year to open its fourteenth store in June.
The roll-out of a Signagelive-driven network of fifty screens gives the business a more impactful platform to redefine the coffee experience, and, in the process, revitalise northern England’s forgotten High Streets.
More than this, the Signagelive content management system (CMS), which is currently being used to create, manage, and deliver content to the chain’s high-brightness window displays and menu boards, has proven operationally important for initiatives, such as recruitment drives.
About The Coffee House
From the opening of its first store, eleven years ago in Lymm, Cheshire by brothers, Chris and Steve Shelmerdine, The Coffee House, as a brand, has sought to change the way people eat, drink, and relax.
Throughout all its store locations, the chain has re-imagined the local coffee shop experience, building its success on exclusively serving its own roasted coffee and high-quality, hand-produced food, and fostering an inclusive sense of community. When customers walk through the doors, they are immersed in a uniquely local experience, surrounded by wall art, which captures and pays homage to the area’s heritage.
This double serving of uniquely blended coffee and local heritage is what has driven the chain’s popularity, but it is The Coffee House’s future-ready strategy that has enabled the business to accelerate and sustain its growth.
Battle to grow the brand
In 2019, The Coffee House had to decide how to grow and centralise its management. Chris Shelmerdine explains, “The challenge we faced was how to expand and streamline our operations, without jeopardising the unique micro-cultures that we reflect and support in each of our store locations. We wanted to be able to amplify our reach and scale up, but not at the expense of de-personalising the local coffee shop experience that we had worked so hard to create.
At the time, we were impressed by how fast-food chains were going paperless, utilising greener cloud-based digital signage to talk to customers and familiarise them with new menu items, all in the style and voice of their own brand. The technology really appealed to us, but we didn’t know if it could be adapted to suit our business model, or if it would be intuitive and cost-efficient enough for us to be able to adapt quickly.”
However, after much online research and with support from reseller, TenAV, The Coffee House found the tool it needed, and as an independent coffee shop chain, became an early adopter of cloud-based digital signage with Signagelive.
Compatible with a wide range of hardware, the software was a perfect fit with the LG and Samsung digital displays that the chain opted to use.
Streamlined, remote management
Easy to set up, the cloud-based content management system enabled The Coffee House to streamline management and step-up content production.
The staff no longer needed to be on site to replace physical menu boards and posters. They could create, roll out and update branded menu boards and promotions in minutes, tweaking and customising each version to suit specific store locations.
Always-on, contextual marketing
The digitisation of the stores enabled the chain to build on its brand – a process which, due to the scalable nature of the technology, continues to this day.
The installation of 60-inch high-brightness screens in the store-front windows has been a game-changer, offering a much more cost-efficient alternative to local advertising and flyer drops.
Serving as contextual, always-on and all-weather marketing, it has minimised marketing costs, bringing the brand to life through the broadcast of dynamic video and high-resolution imagery, including appetisingly real coffee and food photography.
Revitalised coffee shop experience
The cloud-based solution has also enabled the brand to drive the coffee shop concept forward, essentially by amplifying its traditional role as a bastion of the local community.
The store-front digital signage is, for instance, often used to advertise council events, which bring different generations of the community together.
Working hand in hand with the community, the brand’s team accepts event artwork from local councils in virtually any digital format, scheduling it for broadcast, either as a full-screen display, or as part of a split-screen layout.
To support operations, the store front displays are also used to advertise The Coffee House job vacancies, enabling passers-by to scan on-screen QR codes that take them straight to the brand’s Careers page. It’s a quick and efficient recruitment strategy that further strengthens the chain’s community ties.
Integrated business approach
Perhaps more than this, the on-screen display of QR codes supports an integrated business approach, maximising the reach of the brand’s suite of digital assets by making them visible and available to use in-store.
Simply by using their smartphones to scan the relevant QR codes that are broadcast, customers can redeem special offers and points via its loyalty app.
It’s a way to market new coffee blends to customers, and, in doing so, inspire them to be adventurous and try out more unusual coffee blends that are not often available on the High Street.
“It is”, Chris Shelmerdine says, “all part of our chain’s unique proposition. If you want people to come back to the High Street and through your store doors, we believe that you need to offer more than just coffee – you need to deliver a worthwhile experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere.”
In-store digital marketing
To support its marketing, The Coffee House frequently makes use of horizontal configurations of four 32-inch Full HD screens behind its counters. While the two inner displays serve as menu boards, the outer pair are used exclusively for advertising, whether that’s the broadcast of in-depth multimedia content sequences about new menu items, or time-sensitive meal deals at various points in the day.
With Signagelive-powered digital signage, the brand can:
- Instantly change menu board items and advertising, according to the time and day, and their popularity
- Create specialist multi-media advertising sequences that include video, animations and high-resolution imagery
- Edit live content to make quick corrections and updates
- Schedule special offers to start and end at specific times, so that content is always relevant and up to date.
A future-ready business model
While The Coffee House has rapidly expanded and moved forward in leaps and bounds in only a few years, Steve Shelmerdine insists that this is only the start: “The priority for us is to stay future-ready. Our investment in cloud-based digital signage provides us with everything we need, built-in, to continue to scale up and maximise our impact. It gives us more choice – more options to decide how best to support our operations and build the brand at each stage of our growth.”
The Signagelive cloud-based digital signage that is in place constantly updates to deliver an ever-increasing suite of integrated features.
This range of leading-edge tools now includes:
- Screenfeed Connect, which enables teams to use their own stats, facts and imagery to personalise, and brand content – all without any coding
- Patented tool, Real Time Events (RTEs) to create immersive experiences via connected devices
- Proactive Monitoring to keep remote teams in the loop, should there be an issue with the signage
- Integrated programmatic advertising platforms to make it quick and easy for businesses to find relevant third-party advertisers
With more coffee house openings on the horizon, The Coffee House has started to explore more platform functionalities, including the Signagelive Proof of Play feature to help measure and assess the impact of its on-screen advertising. The brand is also looking at other ways to drive back-office operations and boost revenue with data integrations. These allow for the secure, big-screen display of valuable data analytics from any business intelligence tool, such as Microsoft Power BI and SharePoint, GROW and Monday.com.
On The Coffee House project, Tim Baker, Signagelive Marketing Manager commented, “We’re excited to be working with The Coffee House. The brand is a pioneer in its sector, taking the local coffee shop experience up a notch, while also disrupting the usual kind of restrictive business model that’s associated with independent businesses. With our technology, we can deliver cost-effective support for the brand’s development, providing a wide choice of flexible tools to help create, customise and schedule big-impact communications, as well as power the company’s operations and expansion.”
Steve Shelmerdine concludes: “We’re looking forward to the next chapter and seeing what else our cloud-based solution can do to advance our goals. Importantly, with this system, we not only have intuitive technology at our fingertips, but also the support of Signagelive’s proactive team to help us maximise our return on investment.”