Starbucks store

Let’s take this off line

On 1st October Starbucks closed its online shop. If you’re concerned about how to replenish your stock of hazelnut syrup, don’t worry – there are still a host of online retailers selling Starbucks products. But a global, youth-focused brand suggesting that digital purchasing isn’t the future? That’s big news.

On 1st October Starbucks closed its online shop. If you’re concerned about how to replenish your stock of hazelnut syrup, don’t worry – there are still a host of online retailers selling Starbucks products. But a global, youth-focused brand suggesting that digital purchasing isn’t the future? That’s big news.

So why have they done it?

Manager at Starbucks Global Communications, Maggie Jantzen, gave her version: “We’re continuing to invest in amplifying Starbucks as a must-visit destination and are looking across our portfolio to make disciplined, thoughtful decisions.”

In more simple words, Starbucks just wants you to stop by for a coffee. And they recognise that, in today’s busy marketplace, encouraging loyal visitors takes effort and focus.

Since its inception in 1971, Starbucks has regularly shown its pioneering spirit. From introducing Italian style coffee culture to the US in the 1980s to launching paper cups two decades later, the brand has always positioned itself as an industry leader whilst simultaneously proving this by expanding across the globe.

And Starbucks is taking a stand once again.

CEO Kevin Johnson talks of a “seismic shift” in the retail industry, adding, “Retailers who are agile and reimagine the art of the possible will be big industry winners.”

Starbucks veteran and current Executive Chairman Howard Schultz backs up this feeling, commenting, “Every retailer that is going to win in this new environment must become an experiential destination.”

This is both threat and promise. Fear mongering and inspiration.

Starbucks is attempting to confront this shift head-on by creating an environment that merges an enhanced personal experience with advanced in-store mobile technology. The brand recognises that digital is key to their future success, but within the bricks & mortar space rather than replacing it. (You might say they want to have their blueberry muffin and eat it.)

Starbucks clearly has big plans for their in-store experience. But you only have to look at Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos to realise that grand ideas are the ones that work in today’s innovation hungry world.

Personally, I’m excited about being part of an industry that’s “reimagining the art of the possible”. Although, we might have to discuss it over a Lavazza espresso instead. (Now, that’s real Italian coffee culture…)

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MASH Staffing