Got fish and chips for dinner last night. Got out of the car, crossed the road and before even entering the shop we had chosen exactly what we wanted. We had never been to this particular take away before but hey, they’re all the same, no need to look at the menu.
It hit me at that time that this is how the majority of people think of, and order, their coffee. We see a coffee shop, know what we want before entering, and order the usual. After all, aren’t all coffee places the same? (interesting to note that this might explain the frustration some customers have when they’re chosen item isn’t available).
If specialty places are to work, (that is, those offering a variety of high quality coffees with little to no additives), we should address this by ensuring that our customers don’t enter our shops with a preconceived idea of what they want, but rather an attitude like “lets see what they have today”.
I think this is down to us. Thinking of new and different ways to portray our product in the minds of our customers. I think it’s an exciting thought!
Lets be frank, with our product, we can’t compete on price. Great coffee costs too much to sustainably match regular coffee prices in a coffee shop.
If we try, my guess is that we’ll either compromise our quality or go broke. Neither of which is a good thing.
So what to do? Firstly, why do business’ compete on price in the first place? From what I understand, it’s one way of targeting a particular market. People like cheaper prices, so, if the same product is available from a few companies people will most likely go for the cheapest option (unless something like convenience outweighs this).
Thinking back to great coffee, a market looking for the cheapest option is not really the market we’re after. Agreed? So what then? Well, what else do people want? Well that’s where knowing our own individual markets comes in. Is it quality or something else? Either way, I think we should make it clear that cheap prices are not something we care about, in fact, paying more for better coffee is something we are proud of. And this is reflected in per cup prices.
Specialty coffee is a niche market. That means that 90%* of people won’t want, or like, our product. We should expect this. Our aim is to attract that 10% who will.
* I made up this number to illustrate a point.