Jun 03, 2012 Written by 
Every Saturday and Sunday morning, I take my dog for an early morning stroll around Faulkner Park in Melbourne.

Each weekend, I am faced with the same dilemma - where do I buy my coffee and croissant from? There are three cafe's nearby; Cafe Vue, Fleur Depot de Pain at the Blackman and one other on Commercial Road. I never remember the name of the one on Commercial Road, but I do frequent it quite a lot.
Comparing two businesses and can't choose?

Mainly, the decision of where to go is decided based on what time I walk. If it is pre 8am, I go to the Blackman where the coffee is great, service is usually very good, but the croissant is not fantastic in comparison to the cafe on Commercial Road.

Cafe Vue is often out of the question because they don't do skinny flat whites (low fat coffee) and  use only organic coffee. I love the idea of organic but full cream milk doesn't work for me at all.

The no name cafe on Commercial Road has average service and usually a big line up but their croissants are delicious, crispy and just with the right amount of texture. They taste fresh and are always soft in the middle whereas the ones at Fleur Depot de Pain taste like they have been made yesterday.

The problem with this equation is that I can't choose other than basing my decision on time. There lies the problem. If someone cannot choose why they should choose you over your competitor, then you are doing something wrong. Something has to change. You have to do something at makes the decision easier for your customer and breeds customer loyalty.

Like Monday to Friday, I always get my coffee at the one place - Commodity Cafe. Why? Their service is exceptional, they remember name and they feed my dog chicken each morning. Their coffee is ok, but I am sure that there is better around St Kilda Road, but I would feel disloyal by buying coffee anywhere else.

Take a hard look at your business and decide what makes you different from your competitors. Make sure this stands out loud and clear.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye


  • David

    There is so many things to take into when choosing. Location, quality, service, price etc. Cafes that offer free wifi access is enough to send me there

  • priscilla

    Small business's should definitely focus on differentiation, giving customers a reason to choose them. Most of the time one reason is enough, you don't have to be good at everything. Being the best at one thing and making sure customers remember that one reason why your business is unique is a good way to build a customer base.

  • Kathryn Wilson
    Kathryn Wilson

    A consumer should choice to do business with one business over another by examining the customer service they recieve. In order to gain cusomters, business need to build relationships, and i believe it is this that will keep your cusomters from going somewhere else, or from having to make a choice between two places.

  • Sandra

    I wouldn't know which cafe to go to either considering each has their own positives and negatives. This is why small businesses should work on giving you a reason to choose them. If your competition is in walking distance, it should give you even more of a reason to differentiate your business.

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