If you have been to some of your local neighborhood small businesses lately, you have probably noticed that many have added new features and services to attract more diverse customers.
I read an article a few days ago about a Brooklyn café owner who added cooking classes to diversify their business. The café has been around for five years, and during this time several other cafes opened up in the same neighborhood. In order to diversify their customer base, the owner of the café purchased a vacant retail space next door and converted it into a space for cooking classes. Part of the conversion process involved building a commercial kitchen, and creating a seating space for 10 students. The cooking classes are held twice a week, and they are designed to teach students how to make healthy foods. According to the article, the owner has seen a 30% increase in business since the launch of the cooking classes.
Many of the people, who sign up for the cooking classes, are regular customers who have been coming to the café since it opened. While others who sign up for the classes are young couples who recently relocated to the neighborhood and want to learn how to cook. As you can see, this café owner was able to diversify their customer base by adding cooking classes. If the cooking classes continue to be popular, the owner will add more classes and expand the space. It looks like the investment the owner made in converting the empty retail space next door really paid off.
I noticed the other day that an art gallery located in my community has converted their rooftop deck into an interior design lab and showcase. The owner wanted to attract a more diverse customer base and increase foot traffic. To do this they designed a space that would allow people who purchased artwork from the gallery an opportunity to meet with an interior designer. The designer demonstrates various ways how the art work can be displayed in their home. The rooftop deck is about 1800 square feet, and it also has built-in benches for seating space. To make the demonstrations more interactive, the designer uses laptops and a large projection screen. By adding these interactive features, customers can experiment with angles and colors.
Since converting the rooftop deck and adding the designer demonstrations, the owner of the art gallery has seen an increase in weekday and weekend foot traffic. In addition, instead of just attracting people who want to purchase artwork, young designers and new homeowners are also coming to the art gallery for design tips.
The above case studies are great examples of how a small business owner can create a diverse customer base by adding new features and services.