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Creating A Unique Brand And In-Store Experience


Big Dog Coffee small business storefront

Small businesses spend a ton of time marketing to potential customers just so they can get them to walk through their front door.

But it’s almost always what happens once they actually walk in that front door that determines whether they’ll become a loyal customer or just a one-time shopper.

Recently, I had a chance to check out Big Dog Coffee and I have to say they did a bang-up job creating a unique brand and in-store experience.  

It all started with their storefront.

They incorporated the existing architectural detail to create visual interest. The flower bed, the benches, and the period-appropriate awning all give their shop that “neighborhood” feel—something you just can’t get from big franchises.

Also notice the open door (always a welcoming sign for any passerby) and their coffee-inspired “open” sign that’s both colorful and easy to see.

But the curb appeal was only part of what made Big Dog Coffee a great example of how to use your space and your small business brand to attract and win over loyal customers. Once inside, they carried the vintage theme in a modern and memorable way.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was the intricate detail of the front counter and the vintage chandeliers (a key part of their brand and a direct connection to the history of the space which started out as a bakery in 1889).

The crisp and clean menu is easy to read and is showcased perfectly with the help of a few strategically placed recessed lights—a small detail that quickly and purposely drew my attention to their bevy of tasty beverages.

Big Dog Coffee small business counter

The area rug also made me feel as though I was meant to stand in that very spot—which just so happens to be directly across from those menus.

They also have a knowledgeable and friendly staff that are continuously trained to ensure customers have a memorable in-store experience—the last, and arguably most important, ingredient to any successful business.

The folks at Big Dog Coffee have been able to build a unique brand around their love of quality coffee and the history and architecture of a neighborhood bakery that opened more than 100 years ago. And they’ve carried it through in all aspects of their marketing efforts, including the look and feel of their website.

Whether you’re looking to create an ecommerce store or a traditional brick and mortar business, if you’re looking for a great example of how to use curb appeal and atmosphere to help market your business, be sure to check out Big Dog Coffee on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Big Dog Coffee small business counter Big Dog Coffee outdoor patio

Have you come across other small businesses that have used their space to create a unique brand and customer experience?

If so, leave a comment below.

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