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Variety and experience: what we can learn from coffeehouses

Premium cafeterias try to offer more than coffee

  • Key4Communications

Premium coffeehouses and American coffee franchises take a lot of criticism, but the fact is that they get us to pay more per cup, and we also spend a lot of time in them. Surely we can take note of some of the techniques they use to bring us back. This is part of what they offer:

1. Variety. You can have a cup of coffee at any bar, but to drink lattes, mochas, frappuccinos, and macchiatos, in all their varieties, you need to go to one of these coffeehouses. It is important to provide this variety because 26% of coffee drinkers take more than four cups a day. If cafés do not offer different options, consumers may opt for convenience and simply go to the nearest coffee shop.

Another effect of variety is that it allows increasing the average selling price. Many of these cafés offer three sizes. The goal is that we choose the one that seems "normal", i.e. the medium one. If they’d offer only two, most consumers would choose the small size.

2. A premium product. For someone to spend more than two (or three) euros in one macchiato, these bars must offer a product that is superior or different. Many of these cafés offer organic or fair trade coffee, following the increasing trend of responsible consumption. Others offer coffee from unusual origins and characteristics. It is important to associate the brand with these values, such as Illy has done with quality espresso.

3. A unique experience. Although it may seem that all these cafés are the same and some even remind us fast food chains, the truth is that we can find there comfortable sofas and wifi. Many customers take their laptops and spend hours with just one coffee without being disturbed, and this is precisely the reason they are willing to pay more. It's what Starbucks calls a "third place" - a place to be comfortable that is neither work nor home.

Consumers have to consider the store (or the coffeehouse) as part of their leisure. It is not a place to buy something and go, but a place to have a good time. And, for example, a toy store could easily provide a fun experience for children and their families.

4. A personalized and specialized service. Baristas know how to use the espresso machine, are fully aware of the characteristics of the offer, receive training about the product, and also ask the client his or her name. The latter is more important than it seems - they could use numbers or simply ask who this cappuccino is for. But they choose to ask our name from the start, which is a small, but significant step into a personal area. When was the last time somebody asked us our name in a store?

Ultimately, it all comes to choosing a product we associate with positive experiences and caring for both this product and these experiences. It should not be hard to do something similar in the case of babycare products and toy stores. I would say that a child brings many more enjoyable experiences than a simple cup of coffee.

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