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  • Writer's pictureBernhard Lermann

Customer loyalty via POS system

Coffee Fellows is starting the rollout for its first customer loyalty app. To network its 130 stores, the franchise provider opted for the cloud based helloTESS! POS system.

Foto: Coffee Fellows

The cash register offers a source of data in the gastro business that needs to be used in the age of digitalization. Sales and turnover figures, frequency analyses, personnel allocations and product comparisons are all possible with modern cash register systems.

Better linking of store reporting with headquarters

This was hardly enough for the Coffee Fellows franchise chain. Founded by Kathrin and Dr. Stefan Tewes in 1999, the coffee shop company now operates 240 stores across Europe. The goal was to digitally map the approximately 130 independently managed franchise operations across all branches and also to introduce a customer loyalty program. "We wanted to improve the connectivity of our store reporting with the head office years before, but it always failed due to the existing infrastructure," says Dr. Stefan Tewes.

Transaction data available in real time

Another request was to develop a mobile app that would enable customer loyalty programs as well as mobile payments. Before it could be available to guests, its connection to the overall system also had to function smoothly. Alexander Lang, responsible for the technical integration, explains: "The market offers a whole range of ready-made loyalty or ordering solutions. It is important for Coffee Fellows to always be capable of acting independently and to be able to integrate both the solutions it has developed itself and third-party systems into the heterogeneous environment of the POS systems. Thanks to the open interface of helloTESS! this can be realized smoothly and the transaction data is also available to the operative in real time."

Secure investment and sustainable digital positioning

Until now, Coffee Fellows had been working with PC-based cash registers, in which investments had been made years before. However, they did not allow the company to meet its goal of being digitally sustainable. After careful consideration, the decision was made to migrate all franchise partners to the cloud-based helloTESS! POS system in order to create a networked, integrated IT landscape. "Networking is part of our software architecture," explains Hubert Domscheit, Managing Director at helloTESS! Extensions and conversions of digital processes are possible at any time due to the open programming. For Coffee Fellows, this meant investment security and completely flexible use of existing data. "The open API interfaces of the software make it possible for our customer to export and further process all data from helloTESS! at any time. By means of business intelligence, he then receives exactly those evaluations and information that he needs. Each of our customers sets different priorities," says Domscheit.

Foto: helloTESS

Standardized digitized processes thanks to open interfaces

The franchisees of the coffee chain also previously fed their sales data into the head office server. However, the reconciliation always took place afterwards, mostly at night. The data from the stores was not available at all times and not as comprehensively. Fine details in store management were also a concern for Coffee Fellows: Coffee Fellows franchise partners are independent entrepreneurs and should be able to make changes independently, even at the POS, through standardized, digitized processes. Thanks to the new infrastructure and the associated open interfaces, there are hardly any limits to this.

Mobile app creates added value for customers

Only on the basis of this connectivity throughout the company was it possible to use a customer loyalty program in a meaningful way. The mobile app, which every Coffee Fellows fan will soon be able to download onto his or her cell phone, was developed by Coffee Fellows itself. The aim of this app is first of all to offer customers added value via a digital account so that they will choose the coffee provider again the next time they are thirsty for coffee in the city. For example, a voucher for a 10+1 promotion - buy ten, get one free: Thanks to the new infrastructure, such promotions can be neatly evaluated with the actual transactions.

Order and pay without waiting

Despite the sophistication, the normal payment process, including data synchronization via app, also has to work flawlessly: "For us, it is an important service feature that our guests can order and pay without having to wait," explains Dr. Stefan Tewes. For instance, if a guest wants to pick up his order at the checkout and collect points or redeem a voucher at the same time, he presents his customer ID to the card reader via smartphone. "At this "touchpoint" with the customer, it's important that it happens quickly, that the service employee doesn't have to wait for the system, and that he also intuitively knows what to do. The processes required for this must be fully automated and work in the background."

Implement new ideas at any time without new investments

"For the future, we are also thinking about in-app payment, where customers can load credit onto their app. But that will be just the next step in development," Alexander Lang holds out the prospect. With helloTESS! such an idea can be implemented at any time without new investments in infrastructure. "We are very satisfied. The combination of an open platform in conjunction with an iPad cash register, as offered by helloTESS!, is ideal for our purposes," says a pleased Dr. Stefan Tewes.


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Bernhard Lermann

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