What Can You Learn From Your Competitors?
This article is not about some crazy marketing strategies for your coffee shop, that will cost you all of your budget, but it’s about the simplest thing you can actually do, look over to your competition!
You shouldn’t copy them. Doing a good job with promoting your coffee shop is far from copying other shops! Let’s say it is more about taking their advantages and avoiding their disadvantages.
So, how are you going to do just this?
Here are 5 things you can actually learn from your competitors!
1 – What do they offer?
What’s on their menu? How ‘big’ is their menu? What coffee drinks do they offer? What other beverages? What about their food? Is it homemade? Do they offer specials? Go over to the coffee shops near you and check them out! What do people order? Can you tell what are the popular items on the menu? Try their food for yourself! What can you learn from that? Anything that you can improve? Anything you would add?
2 – What do they NOT offer?
Same here! Is there anything that you’re missing? Anything that should be on the menu? Something, that’s essential for you, when going to a coffee shop? I’m sure you can come up with something that you’ve always wanted to offer in your coffee place. At the same time, ask yourself why your competitors do not offer that certain item! Don’t just assume they forgot to put it on the menu.
3 – How do they treat their staff and their customers?
You can tell a lot about that by watching people. Really, take some time and watch how the baristas are doing their job: How do they treat the customers? Also, how do they treat each other? Can you tell something about the way they work together? What about the skills of the baristas? Do you think they’re fit to do what they’re doing? Don’t be shy, ask some questions to both the baristas and the customers. Plus, ask yourself what you can learn from that for your coffee shop. What can you adopt for your coffee business?
4 – Why do customers come to that coffee shop?
Can you tell their reason? Again, ask the customers of your competitors! What do they like about the shop? How often do they come in and how long do they stay? What do they order? Combine these results with what you see yourself! The interiors, the menu, the people working there, the atmosphere in total. How do you feel, when you’re staying and drinking a coffee in there? Take the time to write something down about each coffee shop you’re visiting! Again, what can you learn? Can you tell about a certain store concept – a WHY – behind it? Why do you think they’re successful coffee shops?
5 – How do they promote their coffee shops?
What coffee shop marketing activities are they doing? Do they offer specials, discounts? What about their visibility? On the street, when passing by and online! Check out their websites, their social media activities! How are they connecting to their customers? How do they talk to their customers? How is their ‘tone’ in the shop and on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Or, ‘like’ their channels and follow them. Do they have a newsletter? If, yes, get on there! Again, what can you learn from these activities for your own activities, for your own marketing strategies?
Even if you’re still at the very beginning and are planning your coffee shop or if you’re further down the road (and have already opened your shop), it doesn’t matter. It is always worth it, to go check out your competitors in order to have your own successful coffee shop.
They’re adjusting what they’re doing a lot while being open for a couple of years already. And, that’s actually the most important thing! Don’t just get stuck at where you are. Learn from others and adjust what you’re doing based on what you’ve learned! And, of course, bring yourself in as much as possible! You don’t want to be the ‘copycat’, right?
Simel.Coffee stands for the merging of specialty coffee and Marketing. The person behind Simel.Coffee is Melanie Boehme, Coffee Marketing Consultant and branding expert for specialty coffee shop businesses.
Melanie Boehme supports busy coffee shop owners and managers with her inspiring Marketing strategies (offline & online) on their way to a successful & thriving coffee business that customers just love going to.