Techniques for Attracting Customers: Lessons from Cafés


A few months ago, most business owners weren’t thinking about renovating or redecorating their establishments to attract more customers. COVID-19 sent all such plans to the backseat towards the end of March when the world started to realize that the pandemic is unlikely to be finished soon. Now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized two vaccines and plans are underway for their distribution, many business owners might be revisiting their design ideas before COVID-19 took over everything.

The Rise of Cafés

During the months of on and off isolation, the public’s use of the Internet and media consumption increased. One noticeable trend was the increasing popularity of café vlogs. These are simple, yet cinematic videos that document the behind-the-counter activities in coffee shops. Using high-definition video cameras with agile focus and lenses that take mouthwatering macro shots, baristas show how their shops’ signature drinks are made and prepared.

Vloggers who work in cafés that bake their own cakes and pastries enjoy an advantage: their vlogs also include footage of pretty cakes sliced to perfection. Some even take viewers into the kitchen and show the baking process as well.

Cafés are already very popular before the pandemic, but the months of mandatory social distancing only increased many people’s desire to visit a coffee shop again. With soothing café music in the background, beautiful interior shots, and the ASMR-esque sounds of tinkling ice and humming espresso machines, café vlogs remind customers of what they’re missing and what they can potentially enjoy again.

cafe counter

Regarding Ambiance and Design: What Do Café Vlogs Have in Common?

Café vlogs do not only soothe and comfort; they also offer a wealth of ideas for business owners who want to recreate the welcoming environment of coffee shops and encourage customers to keep returning.

Coffee shops may have different themes, but they share many similarities.

  1. A calming and relaxing ambiance.

This is the signature characteristic of coffee shops. You don’t even need to see the counter or display case to know that a photograph is taken inside a coffee shop. There’s just something distinctive — something homey — about cafés that customers can recognize it by sight.

Examples of “café aesthetics” are comfortable armchairs are arranged to create a cozy sitting area for small groups; tiny tables beside windows with seating for two or four; motorized blinds with cozy window treatments; mood lights; bright and earthy color palettes; potted plants as room dividers and accents; accent walls, and highly-curated wall decor.

What if you’re not running a café? You can still take a few pointers from them, like playing calm music and providing comfortable seating. Give your customers reasons to return; even a bench to sit on while their companions shop can be a deciding factor for people’s buying behaviors.

  1. Eye-catching exteriors.

The design aesthetics of coffee shops are rarely constrained to the interiors; they always bleed out to the shop’s facade. It’s a good strategy because, in the absence of window displays, the exterior decorations draw in customers looking for a place where they can rest for a few minutes. Once they enter, the rest of the shop’s offerings — the inviting hall, comfortable chairs, scent of coffee and pastries, free Wi-Fi — help seal the deal and turn bystanders into paying customers.

  1. Products that are both familiar and exciting.

One more area where cafés are excellent at is product development. They offer the same coffee variants, for example, yet each café puts a spin on the familiar drinks, making them unique to the shop. They have staples that you can expect to taste more or less the same everywhere, like Americanos and lattes. However, they also concoct their own signature drinks or signature add-ons, like a special, secret-recipe cream topping, that will set their menu apart from their competitors.

These three summarize the irresistible qualities of cafés that other businesses can replicate. Even if the imitations are only up to a certain extent, the small improvements can add up to make their establishment more attractive to loyal customers.

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