Creating customers with coffee


Following our recent high street round-up, which revealed the true growth of the UK coffee culture (click here if you missed it), here’s some real insight into retailing and coffee with big thanks to our good friend Wayne Blanchard and David at Dd Drums…

The success of the coffee shop concept across this tea nation of ours prompted the suggestion that music retailers might want to consider tapping into the ongoing craze as a marketing tactic.

David Dowell, managing director of dD Drums, in Falkirk, off the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow, is ahead of that game.

“Aye, a good cup of coffee, some biscuits an’ a bit o’ banter. That’s the core of my marketing. (laughs) It wasn’t a conscious strategy; the chilly Scottish weather made it a necessity.”

But he quickly realised multiple benefits.

“That coffee has helped me create a community. It used to be that players met up at pubs and clubs, either gigging or seeing other bands. There was a sense of community that isn’t there now because everyone has jobs and family. So dD Drums has become the go-to place… the destination. Players know there’s coffee and a chance to get caught up. It’s good therapy for them and it’s great market research for me; from what they say I gain insight into what they like and why. I’ve a small shop, so I can’t afford to bring gear in and have it sit for months. A chat over some coffee and Hobnobs with a few of my regulars can definitely influence my purchasing decisions… and theirs.”

Some major music shops in Germany offer not only coffee, but have seating areas for having eats and even beer. While a guitarist is trying out the gear, his missus has a snack. And when he’s ready to talk business the salesman will sit him down, order up complimentary beer and brotchens and wrap up the deal.

“Ultimately,” concludes Dowell,“ the coffee and the chat – some quality chat – are part of their experience. And the payoff starts by listening to what they say. You won’t find my staff or me staring at a computer or flicking through our phones when anyone is in the shop. It’s ‘Get the kettle on and break out the bickies, guests have arrived.’ We’ve built our community of customers one cup at a time.”