A simple hand-written sign can attract new customers

Posted in: Traditional Marketing- Sep 20, 2010 Comments Off

I love to see local businesses do something different to attract customers and a new boulangerie, in the small town where I live in southwest France, is doing just that.

“How many baguettes does this town need?” I remember thinking to myself when I saw another boulangerie about to open on the edge of town. “He’s going to have to work hard to pull me away from my favourite….Hey, what’s that sign taped to the lamp post?

Now, I’m a loyal customer!

Very clever. In a town that already had four boulangeries, each with a loyal following of local customers, this new place simply stuck up a sign that said “Drive-thru”. Not an expensive, flashing neon number… just a sheet of yellow paper stuck to the lamp post with a big black arrow. Enough to catch my attention.

Though the drive-thru concept is not new, around here people are used to just walking to their local boulangerie, meeting their neighbours, strolling through the village and all that. But it is a growing area, parking isn’t easy, people are leading busier lives and commuting to work. I dare say the life-style of the traditional boulangerie customer has changed and these guys have recognised that. Well done.

You can drive round the side, just like McDonald’s, and buy your baguette through the window of your car. I love it and so apparently do a lot of other people because now there’s a queue of cars all day long. (It’s actually faster to park and go in!)

They have also invited a fresh fruit and vegetable seller to set up his stall in front each Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning and now last week another guy selling rotisserie-cooked chicken and take-away paella has appeared. You can sit in their coffee shop too with a sandwich or tasty dessert. The baguettes are always nice and fresh and the woman always warns me to “Be careful they’re still hot” (which actually means… break off a piece and stuff it in your mouth right now!)

It may not be particularly innovative marketing but I like the fact that a new business, facing established competition, has used a paper sign that cost nothing to advertise a convenient new service. My neighbours are talking about them and they are converting passers-by into new customers. Myself included.

I like simple ideas that work. Have you got any you would like to share?