Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Starbucks Don't Bribe Me - Engage Me

So last week I had a meeting at...where else? You guessed it. Starbucks. I arrived early as per my typical m.o. and proceeded to order a Venti Pike's Roast from a delightful young woman with a pleasant smile. She asked me how my day was going and rang my purchase up with speed and efficiency.

As she handed me my coffee and my receipt she said, "Be sure to hang onto this this receipt. If you bring it back in today between 2-5 this afternoon you get two dollars off an iced beverage of your choice But it's only good for today."

To which I remarked, "I'm curious, why is Starbucks offering this? They have never done this before."

She smiled and remarked, "Um yay, we aren't very busy in the afternoons and its a promotion to get more people to come back in during the day." Then she said something that utterly amazed me. "I guess we need the business."

I was flabbergasted. Starbucks needs the business? They need more foot traffic in the afternoons? So much so that they created a promotion to incentivize their morning customers to come get their caffeine fix in the afternoons?

At first glance it looks like a brilliant marketing promotion. Rather than get my money once during the day, they know they can actually get more money from me again later in the day if they give me incentive to come back. Even with the discount my purchase of a tasty iced or frozen beverage would net them about the same revenue as they earned from my single coffee purchase. No doubt a unique approach on the surface but perhaps a symptom of a much deeper problem - one that I have been trying to help Howard Schultz with already.

How to get Starbucks to engage their customers on a level so meaningful to them that they not only want to come in more but they will want to spend more when they do.

I have a plan Howard. One that doesn't require gimicky discounts or time sensitive offers.

Offer still stands. I'll buy the first cup!

Ripple On!!!


Arlin K. Pauler said...

Hey Steve:
I think I have a plan for the same impact for more than just Starbucks. Let's capture the synergy in comparing our notes. Give me a call.
Fellow Rippler, Arlin.

Sue said...


If I open a coffee shop, will your plan work with me? haha. I'm tempted to take this offer up if Starbuck's keeps balking!

Steve Harper said...


Sent you an email today.


You open a coffee shop and we will undoubtedly do my idea!

Ripple On You Two!!!