Sunday, November 23, 2008

If you wire it, will they buy??

I guess that's the question being posed by a coffee house in Amsterdam, called The Coffee Company.

In order to attract the students that surround their university neighborhood location, they've added Wi-Fi to their store. Predictably, the Internet access did attract students but unfortunately, it didn't attract much in the way of actual cash-register ringing purchases(assuming anyone remembers what a ringing cash register sounds like). The good news is that the students come to The Coffee Company to go online. The bad news is they just don't seem to buy a cup of coffee or a snack while they do.

The Coffee Company decided to use the Wi-Fi to their fiscal and marketing advantage. They added their food and drink menu to the Wi-Fi menu that opens on a user's screen. So in addition to the regular links students found once they were online, students can find the menu of the restaurant they were sitting in right that moment.

In another stroke of genius, The Coffee Company decided to change the wireless network name from time to time, and were rather playful about it. Students would regularly have to check with the staff to discover the wireless network name. Give the Coffee Company credit for creativity. Some of the names they used were: "ByCoffeeForCuteGirlOverThere," "BuyAnotherCupYouCheapskate," "HaveYouTriedTheCarrotCake," "OrderAnotherCoffeeAlready" and "BuyALargeLatteGetBrownieForFree."

I'm not sure if it's working - the article I read didn't talk much about the results of their marketing efforts toward the students. Personally, it would work for me. If I had to type BuyALargeLatteGetBrownieForFree to logon, especially every day for a week whenever I visited the coffee shop, I'd buy a large latte.

Maybe some of the more magnanimous Wi-Fi spots around the country could try this technique too, with a more subliminal but uplifting result in mind. They could change the name of their networks regularly in an effort to engender kindness or generosity. Suggestions: "SayHelloToAStrangerToday," "WaitToHoldTheDoorToday," "LetSomeoneMergeOnto22Today," "ListenMoreThanYouTalkToday." The resulting behavior could astonish us all.

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