Coffee, Scooters And Strategy
Starbucks’ April Fool’s joke, Mobile Pour, provided busy customers with the option to order coffee from their phone and have the coffee delivered to them enroute via baristas on scooters. While scooters are entertaining, the concept of deliver-on-the-go is not without possibility. Not only is it physically feasible, it aligns well with the Starbucks brand. Convenience, expedience and service are common themes evident in Starbucks’ strategy, ones that often set them apart from other retailers.
Sara Weiner, Associate Director, Digital Integration and Innovation
The best April Fool’s jokes are the ones that are off-beat, but have enough sensiblity to make you wonder if they are real. Take Starbucks Mobile Pour1
, for example. Defined as baristas on scooters who bring mobile orders to customers on the go, Mobile Pour seems both absurd and yet doable. Why shouldn’t people be able to log a coffee order on their walk to work? With mobile credit cards and mobile location targeting, it is technically possible. There are, of course, some physical limitations—scooters are not really that fast and there is always the spillage issue, but the idea is theoretically implementable.
Another reason this concept works is because it plays easily alongside Starbucks’ strategy of practical and emotional customer service. Known for convenience (mobile apps and billing), speed (quick coffee lines and pre-paid cards) and listening (MyStarbuckIdea.com, Facebook and Twitter), Starbucks sets itself apart from competitors by playing into its customers’ work and technology-oriented lifestyles. By developing an April Fool’s joke that is not only feasible, but also one that does not diverge from its well-established brand strategy, Starbucks has presented an idea that may one day become reality.2
Well, maybe minus the scooters.Implications & Action Items
Starbucks’ approach to customers, demonstrated through its customer-friendly Mobile Pour April Fool’s joke, presents core concepts for succesful brand-to-customer relationships. These concepts are applicable to most industries, demographics and brands, and can be categorized into three main mantras:
1 Starbucks blog: http://tiny.cc/sjdgv
- Prioritize user experience: Consider implementing the shortest consumer journey when developing campaigns, tactics and technology. Customers want expedited brand interaction, whether online or in-store. No one likes waiting or inefficient proccesses. From accepting pre-paid cards to taking your coffee order before you reach the register, Starbucks looks for ways to make its customers journey super efficient.
- Take advantage of technology: Starbucks knows its customers well and supplies them with apps and cross-technology synergies that align with the customers’ technology usage patterns. First learn how tech-savvy your audience is, and then design apps, widgets, and kiosks that meet their needs.
- Listen to the people: Consider ways in which your brand can learn from your customers. Starbucks does a great job of listening and interacting with its people. Through MyStarbuckIdea.com, Facebook and Twitter, Starbucks solicites customer feedback and creates one-to-one and one-to-many relationships.
2 The Huffington Post: http://tiny.cc/wzgk1