Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Starbucks To Provide Content To Secure Customer’s Loyalty

Starbucks has always been a trailblazer in social media adoption. They have set up a wifi network in their stores for the longest times, have a strong Facebook community and makes a great use of Twitter. Starbucks have built its strength on customer experience, by delievering high quality products, but also by creating a whole atmosphere in its shops.

Now Starbucks is launching a new offer. While logging in the Wifi hot spot, Starbucks customers will land on a Starbuck’s page providing free content, from newspaper websites to e-books.

Here is the detail of what will be available:

  • Landing page: Foursquare check in; Starbucks card balance and rewards (if you’re logged in to the network); local weather conditions from The Weather Channel; and a “social media dashboard” with connections to Facebook, Twitter, My Starbucks Idea and You Tube. The Foursquare feature is smart, because as the social website is becoming more and more important, it will give a high exposure to the brand.

  • News: New York Times Reader 2.0,, USA TODAY eEdition, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Sports, and infographics from GOOD.

  • Entertainment: iTunes music and videos, including a digital version of the free Starbucks/iTunes Pick of the Week card program; the aforementioned Bookish Reading Club; short eBooks on business management, leadership and travel from New Word City; Nick Jr. Boost early learning games for kids; and SnagFilms documentary film festivals.

  • Wellness: Articles, recipes and videos from Rodale, publisher of Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Prevention; and a “Map my Ride, Map by Run” app that helps customers find routes (often beginning or ending at a Starbucks) in their local communities.

  • Business & Careers: Content from LinkedIn, including a career-focused blog and videos on job seeking tips; Yahoo Finance.

  • My Neighborhood: Foursquare check in; for making donations to local K-12 public and charter school projects; community news from AOL Patch; neighborhood restaurant reviews from Zagat; Flickr photos from the local area.

  • Starbucks: Information on new drinks, events, and offers from Stabucks; nutrition data; way to check Starbucks Card balances.

  • Asked about future content, Brotman said he envisions a Lifestyle category with shopping, cooking, sports and games. He also talked about community features — such as a "community corkboard" for local events and announcements; individual store blogs; and ways for customers to interact with each other in a Starbucks store.

The product is a mix between social media, with Foursquare, LinkedIn, and so on, and some content which is paid by the brand. The goal is to enhance customer experience on site. It is actually the same kind of idea than proposing free wi fi in Mc Donald’s restaurant in order to convince people to come in, but going a step further. No commercials is planned to be added to the service (which would actually become a revenue stream).

But I really like the idea, because:

  • It is directly linked with the brand strategy

  • It improves the customer experience

  • It provides a strong competitive advantage

Once again, Starbucks is smart about how to use the Internet to provide a premium service to its customer. What do you think about it?