Thursday, 8 October 2015

See how tapping into café culture can reap rewards

There's no doubt that there's a café culture in the UK today. I'm at a large shopping centre today before 10am when the shops open and every café is almost full of people drinking and chatting before embarking on the days shopping. Costa, Starbucks and Nero are the main three chain coffee shops and there are a staggering 3 Starbucks, 2 Caffé Nero and 6 Costa Coffee (yes, six as the vidiprinter used to confirm on the football scores.) Andcthats before you start to add up the Greggs.

And, as usual, this gets me thinking about retail and how all of these things knit together. For instance, there's two stand-alone Costa and the others are situated within other shops-

  • Debenhams
  • Namco
  • Odeon
  • WH Smith

And this is where I think that the angle is - using a coffee shop offering to get customers into your store. Of course the big retail players can look at strategic partnerships with the likes of Costa to make this happen but what about independent retailers. Most of my readers are independent retailers and I think that for some businesses, a coffee shop offering could really help their business. By having a quality, well-respected destination for the coffee drinkers you can have a ready-made custom for your store. I visited Lincoln recently and the coffee shop that really caught my eye was upstairs in an art and craft shop. In a quiet early morning when any large numbers of customer traffic was up at the castle and cathedral, this set and craft shop had 20 people browsing and a further 20 in the café - all of whom had walked through the arts and crafts to get there and would walk back through the arts and crafts to leave. In addition, there were art classes advertised on the tables and the café itself was decorated subtlety with arty type things. It was a great way of getting people through the door and spending.

This isn't the solution to all retail woes, but for some retailers with the space and the vision to create this, there's definitely something in this.

Not everything can be bought on the High Street-

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