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5 Ways Starbucks Kicks SM Butt

by on June 20, 2010

Starbucks, in the last 30 years, has percolated from a single coffee shop in Seattle to a billion-dollar, international powerhouse.  The ubiquitous green and white siren has found a seat next to McDonald’s at America’s busiest intersections.  And, while Starbucks scatter the landscape with 16 thousand stores worldwide, they are also dominant throughout the digital space.

1. MyStarbucksIdea. Resident through the Starbucks website, customers submit their ideas on anything about Starbucks. Unlike other websites that offer something similar, Starbucks customers use it: to date, more than 90 thousand customers have furnished ideas.

2. “Ideas in Action” Blog.  The “Answers” to the ideas mentioned above.  Clearly a step in the direction.  This is the great thing about Starbucks: they give a shi#.  Bravo!  Someone at Starbucks read the Cluetrain Manifesto — “Markets are conversations.”  Employees of Starbucks let customers know what’s going on with their ideas.

3. Starbucks on iPhone.  The Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone application can pay for Starbucks purchases through your phone.  You can order your coffee in advance, manage your card, and see how close you are to earning free drinks.

4. Starbucks and Foursquare.  Visitors who check in to a Starbucks using Foursquare earn customer rewards.  After five visits to a Starbucks, you can unlock the Barista Badge, which can offer discounts on purchases.

5. Starbucks Facebook – Almost 8 million people are fans of the site.  Starbucks has found ways to make purchases easy for their customers.  You can manage your Starbucks card through your FB page, buy your friends coffee, and find out about free give-aways.

Bonus: Starbucks for Social Good .  Between sponsoring The Betacup Challenge, a design contest to thwart the amount of coffee cups wasted each year, to contributions to the Global Fund to help people living with HIV in Africa through (STARBUCKS) RED, Starbucks doesn’t just roast and brew coffee.


Many may think this post was written by a Starbucks groupie who orders a “quad, venti, half-caff, one pump sugar-free vanilla, two pumps sugar-free hazelnut, extra-hot, ristretto latte, with half soy, half low fat organic milk, with two paper cups.”

Truth-be-told, I have been to Starbucks less than a dozen times.  The fact is: Starbucks continually tries to be better, continually tries to find ways to connect with their customers.   Unlike other conglomerates who see trendy spikes in social media and say, “There are a lot of people on “X”, we need to be there,” Starbucks says, “How can we use this platform to help our customers enjoy their Starbucks experience.”


From → USA

  1. Nice job focusing on Starbucks and bringing all their disparate activities together. I liked the format of the post and the fact that you efficiently went right to the list of 5 things to share them all together. Your admission that you’re not a “groupie” helped to add a bit of objectivity to the post. The 5 efforts you highlighted gave you a great basis for the post – the danger in that was that it was easy to just list each one and not necessarily focus on what the underlying lesson of each was. For example, with Foursquare did you feel that was a great tool for rewarding customer loyalty or did you feel that could be more of a driver for new customers to come into various locations based on geolocation? For each, if you could focus more on why you think each one is allowing Starbucks to “kick butt” – you would have the final context that would make this post great. (4)

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