Sometimes a simple act of generosity can be sufficient to make customers choose one particular shop ahead of its competitors.

What is it that makes you head into a store more than once? Perhaps it’s because there are products that you can’t find in other places – unlikely.

Maybe it’s because the store environment and experience are such that you want to enjoy more than just the single, solitary visit. But how long can this be sustained?

Or is it perhaps a combination of these two elements, together with something else?

Driving along the northern part of London’s Holloway Road yesterday it was hard not to look at the appealing display of fruit and veg on offer at one of the many shops that managed to be open on a Sunday while others were still pulling down the shutters.

Spinach and eggs were required for the evening meal and this shop looked as if it might be able to provide them.

Entering the store, both ingredients were available and much else besides. As local Turkish/Azerbaijani shops go, this one was premier league.

Going the extra mile

But what really swung things was the offer of a freshly made coffee. Upon explaining that this was very kind but that I would need to buy another for my travelling companion anyway, the owner said that I could have two espressos for free – gratis.

Now put this in perspective. This is a small shop and down the road there is a large branch of Waitrose where free coffee for cardholders is a normal part of any shopping trip.

The difference in this instance was that the shop owner took a little time, made two very decent coffees using a shiny cappuccino machine and handed them over as I exited the shop.

But is this likely to encourage a repeat visit? You betcha.

A smile, a scruffy but amazingly stocked, small shop and two free coffees given generously make this the sort of place that you’d visit whenever you happen to be in the area.

The fact that it is just like many others in London is by the by. The simple, bountiful act is enough for favour to be shown to this shop ahead of others.

Now ask yourself what you do that can match this or whether it’s just a case of a good-looking shop, some stock and then hoping that profits will follow.