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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Starbucks Hopes More Digital Freebees Will Attract And Retain Customers

For a rather lengthy time this summer I was mayor of my local Starbucks, the baristas know me their and often have my favorite latte underway when I walk in the door... guess I'm a bit predictable. At a corporate level, taking a page out of McDonald's playbook, Starbucks is attempting to do the little things better in a hope to grow business and retain customers in a slow economy. The efforts are extending beyond the get it right attitude at the store level. In addition to it's free wifi offering earlier this year and free music downloads, one track per week, the company is now promising it's U.S. customers e-books, movies and other exclusive offers such as no fee access to some paid websites. It's also testing beer and wine sales in a few locations attempting to ramp up the slow late afternoon and evening sales period. 

“This chain needs to refocus on not becoming bigger but becoming better in its existing units,” said Jack Russo, a retail analyst at EdwardJones in St. Louis.

Keep getting my coffee right and give me free digital downloads... what's not to love about that? Well, I guess as long as you are a coffee freak and don't mind paying a premium to get your fix on, the above holds true. If it's strictly the fast food experience and fast food price you are looking for there's a Tim Horton's (or Dunkin Donuts) to be found on just about every other block.

Source: The Globe and Mail