Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

The Art of Attracting Customers to Retail Shops & Foodie Places

what is perception?

Attracting Customers into Shops, Restaurants and Coffee Shops Just Got Harder.


Poor signage, poor shop fronts, rude staff, terrible food, awful window displays; the Art of Poor Service isn’t rocket science and far too many retail outlets seem to have embraced it.  

But what if you want to get great footfall and make profit? How do you achieve success.

Well, think about your recent experiences.  What made a positive impact on you and what was negative.     You may not be typical of all your customers but this is a good starting point.

But this is just the starting point.


First things first

For me the first thing is to think of the customer and their needs rather than my need to sell. 

The next is to think about the customers’ perception when they first see your business.  Is it likely to be positive or negative.  

Test your perceptive powers

Take for example the image above.  It is the roadside signage of a chain of fast food restaurants. What impression does it make on you? Does it encourage you to stop for a coffee or lunch?  Do you think the food and service will be good here? Do you think that cleanliness and good service is a priority?   Do you think anyone cares? 

I have to confess the amount of green algae growing on the sign affected my perception.  It might be unfair, and the reality might be different, but it takes only a few seconds for any of us to perceive a business in good or bad light, based on just a few pieces of “evidence”.  It can take years to change a first impression.   


Customers have lots of choice

I said earlier that it just got harder.  Today customers have lots of choices.  There are plenty of places to grab a coffee or linger over a superb meal.  Non food retailers have even more competition as people can also shop online.

So creating the right atmosphere is essential.  It starts with kerb appeal.  Think about your window display.  Do you refresh it from time to time?   I’d suggest you don’t do this every few days but once every 10 days or so is a good idea in many cases with longer periods between change in certain circumstances. 

Your window is a roadside advert so you can’t work too hard on getting it right.

And as for printed adverts; my local hotel are advertising Fathers’ Day events alongside their winter warmer menu in the local paper.  It’s the middle of June in the UK and they still advertise winter warmers … do they sound like they serve seasonal dishes or do they sound like they are too tired to check their adverts?  How might they be perceived.

Back to our retailers.  If the window display attracts customers what will the background music say.  If you go to a country house hotel or high end boutique to buy something to wear at a  Buckingham Palace Garden Party does loud rap work for you?   Or would something gentler suit better?

Getting the ambiance right is an art form but not one we should ignore.

And how about the staff. Are they suitably dressed? Do they know how to smile, when to approach you and when to give you space?  Are they able to answer your questions or do they lack “product” knowledge.


It isn’t expensive rocket science

This aspect of marketing isn’t rocket science and it needn’t be expensive.  It is just inexpensive common sense and care.

A bucket of warm water and detergent plus the will to clean external signage is inexpensive child’s play. 

Anyone can do it in a few minutes. But the impact is huge.

All it really requires is the right mindset to implement what is effectively free marketing. 


Your perceptions and practices

Think about your own premises or experiences. What could be done better?


And there are more free restaurant marketing tips at

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