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Coffee Shop Owners, Here Are 3 Marketing Strategies from Starbucks

Coffee Shop Owners, Here Are 3 Marketing Strategies from Starbucks

When you hear the word “coffee shop,” a typical person will likely mention Starbucks. After all, this Seattle brand is the biggest in the world today with over 30,000 stores globally as of 2020.

It wouldn’t have reached this status, though, without some brilliant marketing strategies that truly work. So even if you’re a coffee shop owner who doesn’t aspire to be the next Starbucks, you can take a hint from their ideas and hopefully experience the success you’re looking for.

Starbucks Believes in Consistent Branding

It doesn’t matter if you’re in Tokyo or San Francisco—the look and feel of Starbucks remains the same. Its typical café boasts of heavy use of wood elements in its chairs, tables, and counters. The logo of the mermaid, which has undergone many revisions through the years, is emblazoned on aprons worn by its staff, cups, and even on windows.

Then there’s the wonderful smell of coffee permeating in the air, which reminds customers that Starbucks isn’t just a roaster—it sells a memorable drinking experience courtesy of its premium coffee beans.

Starbucks knows what it is and shows it consistently, and that’s a lesson you can apply in your business too. You can showcase your brand name and logo on window decals, packaging, stationery, and other promotional items.

All branches of your store, regardless of size, should feature the same elements that speak of your brand. It could be color schemes, materials, and customer service.

This Coffee Brand Listens to Customers

Do you know that some of its popular product ideas didn’t come from their boardroom meetings? Instead, they came from their customers.

Starbucks was actually one of the first brands to harness the power of having an online community. In 2008, the company launched the My Starbucks Idea platform, where customers (and even non-customers) can suggest anything to improve its services and product lines.

Then other members can upvote or downvote these ideas. Those that make it to the top will then be considered for implementation.

In five years, the site garnered over 150,000 ideas, of which almost 300 came true. Some of these include the green splash sticks, which turned out to be idea #1, and new flavors like pumpkin spice latte and hazelnut macchiato. Idea #202, on the other hand, introduced mobile payments via drive-thrus while idea #3 launched free WiFi in coffee shops across the United States and Canada.

Building online communities isn’t just to generate ideas for your business. More than anything, it keeps your customers engaged, which helps in increasing customer loyalty and overall brand experience. These two factors alone can speed up sales funnel velocity or how fast your coffee shop can convert leads to customers.

It Uses Tech Wisely

Today, you’ll come across all sorts of tech, but not all are going to be helpful for your business. This fact is essential to remember because integrating tech platforms can be both costly and complicated.

Starbucks is a brand that uses technology smartly. An excellent example is the Starbucks app, which also functions as an incredible rewards program. A person with this app can earn stars every time they order products from the stores, which  can then be redeemed for free drinks and other goods once a particular number has been reached. One can also use this app regardless of where they are in the world.

Furthermore, they can fund this app to initiate a contactless payment system. They can integrate their credit cards or PayPal, so when they buy products, they can do so with less hassle.

Starbucks customers can also order their drinks beforehand using their mobile device. This way, they don’t need to spend a lot of time in line.

Lastly, this coffee brand has an active presence across social media platforms. It has at least 35 million followers on Facebook and at least 10 million on Twitter. They don’t just post. They answer questions, share customer comments for social proof, and create shareable content.

Your coffee shop business can also maximize tech to broaden your brand awareness, engage customers, and improve customer service and satisfaction. If you’re on a tight budget, you can begin by enhancing your social media strategies.

You can then streamline your ordering system. A simple option is to create a website where customers can send their orders for pickup at a later time.

Starbucks didn’t achieve its status as the premier coffee shop in the world overnight. It is a product of hard work, commitment to its vision, excellent branding, and reliable marketing strategies. By applying these principles too, you can grow your coffee shop.


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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.