Coffee is not for amateurs...

by 14 comments
Not very long ago a coffee shop opened in my High Street. It wasn't part of a chain, and it had the look and feel of a greasy spoon.

More recently a branch of Costa Coffee opened up opposite and within a few weeks the original coffee shop had closed its doors for good.

There is a lesson to be learned from this. And if you think about, an important lesson for Internet marketers.

When you open a new business in a market that has some established national (or international) brands, there seems little point these days in looking like a poor relation.

You may only have one branch, and you may have some great unique selling points, but in order to make people want to use you, you have to 'fit in' with what the market expects.

For coffee shops at the moment, that expectation is for a calm environment with sofas and easy chairs, newspapers to read and a wholly baffling range of speciality coffees.

You have to invest money in shop design and signage that can stand alongside the multi nationals.

You have to 'feel' like an established company.

And you have to understand the dynamic of the business.

You don't need to be the only coffee shop in town - my sleepy little town has a Costa Coffee and a Nero Coffee (as well as a busy Macdonalds), and they all do good business. There is room for competition even in a small marketplace.

But there isn't room for amateurs.

It's amazing how many people fail to understand that in all kinds of markets.

I'm not talking about deceptive 'fake-it-until-you-make-it' practices. It is about assuming an air of professionalism in all that you do right from the word go.

#internet marketing #amateurs #coffee
  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Hi Martin,

    Good to see you posting here.

    I wrote a book several years ago on customer service and loyalty, and this is something I mentioned back then.

    Many people mistake regular customers for loyal customers.

    Sometimes a similar business opening a few yards closer will automatically get most of the business. When it comes to loyalty you need more than just a great product to keep your customers when a competitor comes along.
  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
  • Profile picture of the author onlinemarketer
    cool story and a good point too, people are looking for fresh or new stuff
    • Profile picture of the author Killer Joe
      Andy Henry - "Many people mistake regular customers for loyal customers."

      This is so true. You could put this slogan on a tee shirt and have your employees wear it to bed each night so it is the first thing they see when they get up in the morning. Just be sure to print it backwords so they can read it in the mirror while they brush their teeth.

      I'm in a niche where the products we sell are consumables that all our customers have been buying for a long time. Long before they ever found our site.

      Our largest strength in the market is our customer service. That was the hole in the market and the weakness our competition had that we could exploit. So we did.

      Over 85% of our customers were at one time or another regular customers of our largest competitor. Appearently that company must of had a slogan along the lines of "Regular Customers Are Loyal Customers" they drilled into their employees heads.

      Sure hope they never get hold of Andy's book...

  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    I've actually read the opposite. Small mom and pop shops are prospering whenever a Starbucks opens beside them. This is because Starbucks boosts the traffic and when people see the lines inside, they opt for the smaller shop.

    But you're right about environment. It definitely needs to be up to par. No one want to sit in a rinky-dink greasy place.

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