The exit from the pandemic caused changes in the business strategies of large global companies. This is the case of the Starbucks coffee chain in the United States, which in its 40-year history sought to grow under the premise of becoming the “third place” —after home and work— for its customers. The company has always worked on the idea of “creating an experience” to be more than just a cup of coffee.
According to an article published this week by the trade magazine Inc., one of the influences on Starbucks’ historic business strategy since its inception was espresso bars in Italy, a classic gathering place for Italians. “For Starbucks, the idea was for customers to adopt it as the third place to spend time either working, studying or simply with friends,” the note highlighted.
This week, Starbucks opened a “concept store” in partnership with Amazon Go, Amazon’s cashier-less physical stores.
That idea was a key part of Starbucks’ success. Its coffee shops were always designed to invite and encourage customers to stay, a style that was later copied by its competitors. However, after being hit by the effects of the pandemic, Starbucks began testing new business ideas.
This week, Starbucks opened a “concept store” in partnership with Amazon Go, Amazon’s cashier-less physical stores (you only need an Amazon account and an Internet-connected smartphone to purchase). The new store opened in downtown Manhattan and was designed for customers to just pick up orders placed online. Starbucks has already announced that it will open at least two more locations – also in New York City – in 2022.
“It also has an Amazon Go Marketplace, which uses cameras and shelf sensors to keep track of what customers put in their cart and automatically loads them when they leave. Amazon has already opened eight locations of this type in Manhattan ”, detailed the note.
Although it has places to sit, the new concept of the Starbucks location includes the idea of ordering and picking up a drink without interacting with a person. “It is as if Starbucks has decided that, instead of trying to be the place where you spend your time, now it wants to be the place of passage where you decide to spend your time,” said the article signed by journalist Jason Aten.
The company is recognizing that there is a change in the way people spend their time, especially during the pandemic
The journalist stressed that far from being a rejection of his previous strategy, the company is recognizing that there is a change in the way people spend their time, especially during the pandemic. It is also a sign that companies see as “unlikely” that things will return to the same as before March 2020.
“Last year, Starbucks said it would close 400 locations. People, for obvious reasons, spend less time sitting in coffee shops. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want a latte or a cup of coffee. If visiting a Starbucks in the past was an experience, the company seems to be anticipating that the change could be permanent. During the pandemic, many Starbucks stores were only open for product recalls or self-service. But people kept going to Starbucks, ”Aten said.
“Perhaps Starbucks recognized that it is less about the experience of sitting in the coffee shop and more about having the white mug with a green logo while you’re doing something. It also remains to be seen if its partnership with Amazon will help it attract customers who just want to pick up an order, “he added.
All in all, according to the trade magazine, the idea of Starbucks is “brilliant” because it shows that the company is willing to experiment with the idea that what made it successful in the past may need to adapt to changes in the habits of its customers. . “This is exactly how all companies should think,” he concluded.