Coffee can get very personal: when the barista knows your order at the local coffee shop, you feel a special kind of connection.
Even giant Starbucks has capitalized on espresso loyalty with their app and rewards program, which allows customers to order and pay ahead of arrival. Upon pulling up to the counter, the soy mocha latte is made just right, caramel drizzle and all.
Tim Griffin saw this rise in mobile pay as an opportunity to create a multi-vertical loyalty solution for independent restaurants and retailers. He was surprised to find that the most promise in creating this solution was in the data coming out of his local coffee shops. And yet, the vast majority still did not have anything resembling an order-ahead app.
“Coffee shops could’ve accepted mobile ordering in some capacity for the last 10 years and didn’t,” says Griffin. He found two main pain points small coffee shops face in implementing a mobile ordering system.
First, they need a cost-effective solution for inventory management to mirror consumer demands — if the first day of fall brings a deluge of pumpkin spice orders, the shop needs to make sure those supplies are on hand.
Second, the barista needs a way to adjust to customer timing in order to regulate the drink’s temperature upon arrival.
Griffin developed Cloosiv to help local coffee shops compete with Starbucks when it comes to mobile ordering.
“The need for this was very clear after having those conversations with coffee shop owners. They totally see the customer benefit. It’s more of how do we make it work for our location,” he says.
Cloosiv is fairly straightforward from the customer side. Upon downloading the app, the user looks at a map of local shops that use Cloosiv. They then browse the menu and tweak their drink down to the type of milk, flavoring and additions.
They can pay and schedule their pickup, and even include a tip. The built-in rewards system — available for use at all partner coffee shops — allows them to earn points for frequenting their local store.
After talking to customers, Cloosiv also added the much-requested feature of an instant re-order.
“A lot of people are creatures of habit. They get the same thing from the same shop every day,” Griffin says.
Cloosiv has specific features to help streamline shops’ operations. An auto-scheduling feature allows shops to expand and shrink their menus to coincide with peak times. For example, grab-and-go items may be set to only be available until 9 a.m.
The software integrates directly into existing software at the coffee shop.
Griffin shares that one of the biggest concerns he heard from potential customers is that the app might take away the human interaction portion of the coffee shop experience. But, he says that the opposite actually happened.
“The owner is actually getting to talk to their customers more. The customer doesn’t have their head buried in their phone waiting for their order,” he says.
Cloosiv has signed on clients in 36 states, including Alaska, and has processed over 40,000 orders so far.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based startup just completed the Y Combinator Summer 2019 cohort and is in the midst of closing a seed funding round to further expand.
“Our goal is to hone in on becoming a discovery platform for coffee,” says Griffin. “No matter where you are, it’s instinctual that you would look at Cloosiv to find the nearest, best coffee.”