Coffee and Starbucks
1 A. What is Starbucks’ “product” •Starbucks’ product is a casual experience in a comfortable atmosphere where the customer can enjoy a premium cup of coffee and a newspaper or relaxing conversation with friends. B.
What is their “core product” and what are the “auxiliary features” and benefits? •The core product is a premium cup of coffee. The auxiliary features include the well-educated baristas that can help select the right cup of coffee and help customers learn how to reproduce the experience at home or the office with fresh coffee bean or grounds they can purchase in store.
Along with the coffees available there are also Tazo teas, hand crafted espresso and blended drinks a little something for every taste. To go with the drink of your choice you can also enjoy a fresh pastry or a sandwich while listening to music or utilizing the free Wi-Fi to complete the experience. C. What is their “unique selling proposition” and how do consumers view it now? •Starbucks’ unique selling position was offering a high quality coffee for a premium price, while providing a place to relax other than work, home or going to the bar.
With their comfortable seating areas and internet access they branded themselves as your “third place”. Customers bought into it but now that they have started to get more streamlined their stock is falling because they are losing a little bit of that selling position. As the stores get a little less comfortable and become a little more like an assembly line, customers are starting to see it more like a commodity rather than something special. 2. A. Are McDonald’s and Starbucks direct competitors? Yes. While they don’t offer the same quality of food or coffee, McDonalds has put a lot of emphasis on the quality of their coffee and have been able to increase their sales and profits. With the introduction of their McCafe line of coffee drinks McDonalds is looking to take a share of the market from Starbucks. B. What advantages does McDonald’s have in competing with Starbucks for coffee sales? •McDonald’s coffee has a very good reputation as a good cup of coffee.
While it is not on par with the gourmet coffee and specialties that Starbucks has to offer it is a much cheaper alternative and with the large selection of menu items it can market to a much broader base of customers. For example parents with small children will be drawn to McDonald’s for their coffee because of what they can offer the children that Starbucks can’t. Another advantage is the speed at which McDonald’s can serve customers. Since the coffee and food they serve is less customized they are able to get people in and out at a much faster pace even with the implementation of the drive thru at Starbucks. . A. What changes in society (at the time of the case) helped Starbucks to be successful? •There was a steady increase in the number of coffee drinkers in the US in the mid-90s. That combined with the trend of consumers to drink more and more coffee out of the home has increased sales in the entire market. While a large increase of this coffee consumption was among those that drink coffee at work, the benefit to Starbucks is that they are getting the coffee from somewhere other than the workplace.
Along with the increase in consumption consumers have trended to being more and more environmentally conscious. So the focuses on environmentally friendly ways of doing business have helped to keep them in favor with the customers. B. How are these changes related to their target market? •Coffee drinkers ranging from 25-29 increased their out of home coffee consumption from 42% to 66% while in the same year 30-59 years old increased from 33 to 46%. 4. A. What are the “strategic marketing factors” that help to account for Starbucks’ long-term success in developing brand equity? The environment that they offered was one of the big factors that lead to their ongoing success. While there are more and more cafe styled coffee houses coming into the market at this time the idea was very unique and helped to differentiate them in the market. The high quality product and unique sizing of their products also set them apart. Rather than using the standard small med and large names they used unique identifies that helped make their products stand out in memory.
Before they came around your options for coffee outside the home were very limited and the ability to get such high quality even at a premium price was a welcome feature in the market place. For the longest time they were really the only player in the space and that niche afforded them very rapid growth and early successes that help fuel even more growth as they expanded worldwide. 5. A. What are the advantages of the Starbucks Card to the company? •The most obvious advantage of the card to Starbucks is the guaranteed income.
Once people load money on the card it can only be spent at a Starbucks location. It also makes tracking customer purchasing habits and preferences readily available. Then there is the case of the forgotten or lost cards that never get used that equate to pure profit. One last advantage is that with the card they have also created a secondary market for sales by placing the cards in stores like Giant Eagle where people that wouldn’t come into the stores can buy the cards as a gift. B. What are the advantages of the Starbucks Card to the customers? The consumer can control their spending with the card. By loading the card with the amount they allocate for coffee they can track their spending more effectively than before when just purchasing with cash or a random card. While there is no discount associated with the card it does give the consumer some protection when they register the card online. If the card is ever lost or stolen they can report it and a new card will be issued with the same balance and the existing card voided. 6. A. Evaluate Chairman Schultz’ global strategy.
Is it “good” or “bad? ” •The global strategy is “good”. You can build a lot of customer loyalty by taking care of your employees. If your employees are happy and well trained they will provide a much better experience for the customer. Starbucks mission and direction has a solid base in the customer experience as much as the quality of the coffee. So making sure the employees are trained well and very knowledgeable about all things coffee enables them to take the experience past just when the customer is in the store.
Educating the customer on how to get the best cup of coffee at home as well will provide you a regular customer for not only their coffee at the office but also the grounds for home. •In addition the image they are able to betray as a company that cares about the community and the environment will help build customer loyalty. The fact that they not only work to be environmentally conscious themselves but also work with partners and suppliers to share the information and work together to buy, sell and use environmentally friendly products. B.
What recommendations do you have to improve Starbucks’ competitive position domestically? •Starbucks needs to stick to what got them here in the first place. Don’t try to become another fast food establishment. Customers that are coming to one of their stores will respect the time it takes to get a high quality cup of coffee. Take that time to cross sell the customer on coffee beans and other goods for the home. While offering food to the customer is a natural evolution for Starbucks it is important that they put as much time and effort into providing high quality food as they do coffee.
If they keep the high quality of coffee but serve a lesser food the lesser image will be what is remembered. On the same lines make sure that if you are going to provide places for the customer to sit and enjoy their coffee stick with the comfortable seating that invites the customer to relax and stay awhile. You will not only bring them back time and time again you will encourage them to spend more time in the store every time they visit and therefore increase the opportunities to sell more products.