Business, Design thoughts

Why don’t people buy from me? – Retail/Café version

I was recently heading out for some lunch and because it was sunny I thought I would go for a wander around town in the sun. I came across a small square in my native Nottingham which is in a prime location. It’s in the finance area, so lots of offices and there was a small coffee shop that had recently opened, I had walked past it a number of times but it had always been shut, which I thought was strange.
I walked past it again and noticed people inside so thought I would investigate. Shock Horror the coffee shop was open.(and probably had been all the other times I had walked past)

Retail Lesson 1
Have a sign which tells people you are open, simple stuff but I had no idea this place was open, and even more important that that always have your doors open. Having a door open is a standard thing which large shops all know, if there’s no door, there’s no barrier to stop someone entering your store. As an English person I always know how awkward us folk can be, and if we have to go in through a door, we’re stuck! Not a nice feeling.

I entered and walked up to the counter to order a coffee and sandwich, the girl behind the counter gave me a polite smile and asked what I would like. But there was no menu anywhere, no menu on the back wall, no menus on the side or any table, I had no idea what to ask for.

Retail Lesson 2
Make it as easy as possible for someone to choose what they want from you, display your menu, if you have a surplus of products or food that you want to sell, then make this stand out, put it on a flyer or highlight it in the menu. Don’t just presume people know what you sell, most people have no idea.

After finally figuring out some food and a drink, the girl brought over my food and asked if I wanted my free bottle of water since I had bought a sandwich. This was highly annoying as I had already bought a drink, why was this not told to me before!?

Retail Lesson 3
Make sure all the staff are involved in your business, get them to buy into the business and know the offers, it’s just annoying when you have already shelled out for something to learn they had a better offer which wasn’t mentioned.

I think the biggest takeaway is making sure the outside of your shop is inviting, you can provide the greatest coffee ever but if the outside of the shop is uninviting, then no one will ever know.

Turns out after talking to the waitress the coffee shop was closing as it was losing money daily, I wonder why that might be?


By Ross Davies

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