When I was still living in Sydney, I used to sometimes go out at night to enjoy the city’s nightlife. And if you are ever in the business of providing nighttime entertainment, you would easily find out that there’s a lot of competition between the businesses offering nighttime entertainment.
I have been to several of these entertainment venues and one has somehow managed to pique my interest. Since most people who enjoy the nightlife are relatively very young and single people, most entertainment venues design their businesses to cater to them.
But this entertainment venue which piqued my interest not only caters to young people, they cater to a lot of varying age groups. And what’s their gimmick or strategy? The different levels of their building offers entertainment precisely designed for different decades.
For example, one level caters to people who are into the 70’s groove. Another level caters to the 80’s groove. Their top floor is reserved for their more formal type of customers who want a peaceful and stylish dining experience.
In effect, this entertainment venue is employing a diversified strategy when it comes to attracting customers. This strategy is nothing new. At first, most businesses would only have one product or service offering which they concentrate on.
Time would pass by and the business owners would eventually realize that although their product or service is profitable or even very profitable, all products and services have income limits.
Take for example MicroSoft who became one of the most profitable companies in the world largely in part due to their single product: the DOS operating system which made one of owners of the company, Bill Gates, for a long time the richest man in the world.
But more importantly, businesses diversify their product and service offering when they discover that their product or business might not be enough for them to grow their business to become profitable anymore. Even MicroSoft eventually realized this.
Are you the conservative kind of restaurant for example who still refuse to sell sweets even though a lot of people now enjoy eating sweets or even drinking coffee after their meals? A time might come when your customers would actually switch to restaurants that do so.
Of course there are already many coffee shops for example who have diversified and are starting to offer their customers a more diversified experience than just having the experience of drinking hot coffee.
There are petting shops for example which are a mix between a coffee shop, cafe, and a petting shop. Of course, the owners of these cafe can also elect to become pet shops and sell pets and pet supplies.
But why did I specifically mention coffee shops and book reading venues? Because drinking hot coffee takes time and reading books even takes a much longer time. This “time” can be used by the business owners to further sell to their customers.
For example, a coffee shop cum book shop can also become a children’s play venue. Parents can have coffee, read a book or a magazine (preferably electronically) while their children play in the play area.
Or we can go back to our previous example of a petting shop, a customer might enjoy a hot cup of coffee while reading a book or magazine while in the company of pets. These are already three products or services all rolled into one.
By now you might be saying that the title of the article is misleading. “Hey, home come the title says: ‘Vintage Shop’ when the article talks of several businesses related to coffee shops cum book reading venues?“
If you are a new small business with limited funds, you might not have a lot of money to spend on pet shops cum coffee shop and book reading venues. One thing I can suggest is also selling vintage or similar items if you are into the coffee shop and book reading business.
Of course you need to create an ambiance in creating a venue where people can drink coffee while reading a book. For starters, why don’t you sell plants and flowers in your shop instead? This way, you would attract plant lovers while at the same time making money off them.
You can have books, magazines and other materials which talk about plants and flowers and maybe even outdoor living, nature and so on. A customer can buy a cup of coffee, maybe even buy a book and a plant as well.
The more customers you attract into your shop, the better your shop would look to passersby who would naturally become interested as to why your shop has a lot of people inside. It’s like a snowball effect.
Now that you have a plant shop cum coffee shop cum book reading venue, what could you offer next? Maybe a herb shop or some other shop related to nature? But let’s go for something much easier, why not also sell handicrafts made of wood?
This would complement your plants as both your plants and the handicrafts are most likely derived from the forest. Then what comes next? Maybe a vintage furniture shop concentrating on wooden furniture and home accessories.
In short, you are able to expand the products you offer by making each of the products and services you offer complementary. Going back to the entertainment venue I mentioned in Sydney, it has a product or service for almost every member of the family.
Depending on the age of the children and their parents, they can enjoy the 70’s, 80’s and formal dining experience offered by the venue. Each age group may even decide to try out the products/services designed for the older or younger members of their family.
The same goes for our little coffee shop, your coffee shop can have rooms or divisions for book reading, plant selling, handicraft and products that would appeal to the younger aged customers.
When I said this, I don’t mean that a task must be completed by the appointed time otherwise unfortunate things would happen. What I mean is just the opposite. You as the business/shop owner must see to it that customers stay as long as possible in your shop.
I have seen carwash shop owners in Sydney do this. Besides offering carwash services, they also offer a simple cafe service where customers can loiter in while waiting for their cars to be washed.
This might seem like an unimportant information to you, but to some people who sell, carwash cafes are a good place to find clients. And why is this so? In our modern society, cars have become the emblem of financial success.
People who drive the fanciest cars are usually people who have money and are not afraid to spend it. I have seen real estate agents and other salespeople target carwash customers who own the flashiest cars. The carwash owners may be salespersons as well.
The more time it takes to wash a car, the more time a salesperson has to sell their product to the carwash customer. The same is true with businesses trying to make children enjoy their facility so that their parents would be persuaded to stay longer and possibly buy more.
If it’s the first time you discovered this, at least now you know that the more your customers stay in your shop, the more is the probability that you would make a sale off them. This is because you eliminate for one, the barriers to doubt.
It may happen that a woman might like a dress, but has doubts if it would suit her or if the price is even affordable. Suppose she is with her male partner who happens to be uninterested in the shopping experience.
The mere impatience of her male partner might be enough for her to cut her thinking about buying the dress. Her doubts would then be strengthened which would lead her to not buy the dress which means a lost sale for the shop.
But let’s say that a shop has magazines specifically tailored for men, and even better, bestselling fiction books. This could make their male partner less impatient as they enjoy reading a book which might last for more than an hour.
The longer the couple stays in the shop with the woman trying on dresses and their male partner reading magazines and books, the higher is the chance of the shop from making a sale off them.
Though making coffee available in your shop is highly suggested, take note that offering coffee might not be a good strategy in all cases except maybe if you can sell coffee with the same profit margins as Starbucks.
More and more old books and magazines are getting affordable. In Australia for example, old books are usually just donated to charity organizations and resold at cheap prices. I have even seen old books and magazines just ending up on garbage bins.
There are just plenty of people who would like to try reading even old books if presented with the opportunity. Sometimes, the only time they have to do this is while shopping with their partners and families. These people might not even be choosy with the books they read.
Having a crowded shop is good, but it can be so good that it may become financially unreasonable. The reason maybe is because your regular customers are preventing new customers from coming in.
Maybe your regular customers are really now actually reading books much longer than is profitable for your business. This might have to do with the attractiveness of your books to your customers.
Maybe you are a coffee shop cum parts shops for machines and you offer engineering books complete with blueprints on them which cannot be found elsewhere else. Naturally, you would attract a lot of engineers who want to have access to your books.
They would probably spend a long time in your shop not for the mechanical parts or coffee primarily, but for the books themselves. If you happen to own such books, perhaps it might be time to offer your customers a subscription service.
For example, there are very expensive military machine books out there that are only owned by a limited number of individuals due to their sheer cost. You would attract a lot of military enthusiasts who may not be able to buy the books, but can pay a subscription fee to you.
Retailing and the cafe business is a competitive business with commonly small profit margins as compared to other industries. This is because for one, e-commerce and online deliveries have made going to physical stores, shops and even restaurants almost obsolete.
The longer a shop can manage to make a customer stay, the higher is the probability that they can make a sale from them. Hot coffee can make a customer stay for a few minutes, but reading materials like magazines and especially books can make them stay way much longer.
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