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Starbucks strategic goal is to increase market share of the non-coffee drinker; they have begun by introducing an extension of a product line targeted to this segment. To ensure market growth, Starbucks has repositioned one of its current products, the Frappuccino line, this product has been extended to include 3 new flavors; Double Chocolate Chip Crème, Vanilla Bean Crème, and Strawberries & Crème, introduced throughout the summer months. Faced with the challenge of entering a new competitive market Starbucks must compete to retain brand recognition of its primary products, yet increase awareness of its new product line.
Starbucks is the leading retailer for roaster and brand specialty coffee in the world (See Figure 1). It has over 7,500 stores, which are located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Middle East . Besides high quality coffee drinks, Starbucks sells bottled coffee drinks, such as Frappuccino® and Starbucks DoubleShot™.
Starbucks revenue is growing by 20% a year and is opening approximately three stores every day. Starbucks is capable of managing its successful operations by having steady market growth. It achieved this by financing through their cash flow instead of franchising, selling stock or increasing their financial leverage . Its strategy to success is “blanket an area completely.” This approach is to “cuts down on delivery and management costs, shortens customer lines at individual stores, and increases foot traffic for all the stores in an area,” that gives Starbucks a competitive advantage.3
At first only yuppies went to Starbucks, but now it attracts a much wider demographic of customers including people of different ethnic backgrounds and ages. Today, Starbucks has the striking number of 25 million people visitors in its stores each week . This success is due to the combination of high quality drinks and friendly environment with good music, comfortable chairs, and good services. This creates the “Starbucks experience” which customers can relate to that lead to brand loyalty. In addition, Starbucks needs to deal with customers’ cultural preferences in all its worldwide locations to maintain customers’ loyalty. (See Figure 2) Also see Figure 3 for influences on the consumer purchase decision process.
To ensure further market growth and be competitive, Starbucks is developing new products for non-coffee drinkers. Starbucks provides its current customers and attracts new customers not only with quality products but also with varieties flavors that customers’ desire (See Figure 3).
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Starbucks’ two largest competitors are Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, both are national chains. These companies use aggressive price-cutting, up to 20%, for their drinks.5 Other competitors are small local coffeehouses, and other coffee brands like Tully’s and Pete’s Coffee. Their direct competitors for the new product line are Orange Julius, Jamba Juice, fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, and other small coffee alternative providers.
Starbucks recently teamed up with Bank One to offer the Starbucks Card Duetto Visa.7 This is a stored-value card and traditional credit card. Starbucks has also introduced a T-Mobile Hotspot service which allows the Starbucks customer to have access to wireless internet for a fee.8 Offering more services like the Visa card, wireless internet and customized CD will add more value to the Starbucks experience and help draw more customers to Starbucks which will lead to higher revenues.
One dimension of segmentation will be demographics (age and household status). We have selected married couples age 25 – 54 with children to be our primary target market. According to our data in figure 5, we found that these households spend more than other households on non-alcoholic beverages away from home. We also like this segment because the children can consume the coffee-free Frappuccino as well. We expect such events as parents buying the child a Frappuccino as a treat for a soccer game victory, or on a family trip to the beach. We anticipate the exciting summertime experience, will remain in the child’s mind and will influence their purchase decisions as they mature. (See Figure 10)
Points of Difference:
Starbucks cannot expect to grow by offering the same products as its competitors. Starbucks must offer “points of difference” that will make customers want to come to Starbucks rather than competitors. The “points of difference” that make Starbucks new Frappuccinos distinctive relative to competitors fall into four important areas:
• Brand Experience: At Starbucks you aren’t just drinking a beverage, but are undertaking in an emotional experience by the surroundings.
• Brand Quality: Starbucks has been recognized for exceeding expectations by the quality of their products and their service. This is what will create their loyal customers.
• Perceived Health: People that are active are perceived to be healthier then those not active. According to our survey, Figure 6, aside from the coffee, Starbucks is perceived as a healthy establishment, which makes the new coffee-free Frappuccinos appear healthy as well.
• Convenient Access: Starbucks is everywhere and easily accessible. In many locations Starbucks offers drive-thru windows, which are more convenient then its competitors.
Starbucks products always have been perceived with a prestigious image. With their high quality products, unique tastes, friendly environment, conveniences, customers are willing to pay a premium price for its products. As Starbucks extends their product line with the new Frappuccino flavors, it faced against competitors like Jamba Juice. Therefore, to retain a position in the customers’ minds as high quality, Starbucks needs to enhance its position by making it appear as nutritional. This can be achieved by lowering the calories or by adding real fruit to the product. As the product’s nutritional and taste increase, their perceive quality will also increase. Offering a more quality product for the same price will help increase sales and enable them to be more competitive in the customers mind.
Product Life Cycle
The summer drinks are currently in the introductory stage of the product life cycle. Refer to Figure¬¬¬¬ 4. The summer drinks are currently in the life cycle in reference to where we hope it will be in seasons/years to come.
During this stage we expect to have slow sales growth and low profits but are optimistic for the growth stage to increase both. The introductory stage is simply being used as an introduction to these new flavors of the Frappaccino drink.
As the summer draws near we expect sales to rapidly increase. Due to the timing of the hot weather and the promotion effectiveness we expect to see an increase in sales. With the new-segmented market hearing about the new “non-coffee” beverages sales are bound to grow due to curious consumers and their wants to be in some way affiliated with the Starbucks brand.
The maturity stage will be reached near the end of summer and beginning of fall of the first year. As the product is consumed and referred to as the “Summer Drink” sales will eventually slow and reach maturity. We recommend selling these flavors year round making them available to those who still desire to consume them. We do not see sales increasing from summer through winter.
This stage is expected to come every year in late fall and proceed through winter and mid spring. Due to the environmental change, the weather, and the promotional aspect of the “summer drink” sales will surely decline during this period. As shown in Figure 4 we expect throughout the coming years to see sales progress and gain more market share every year.
Implementation Plan and Recommendation
Starbucks is known for providing superior products and services. Consumers have enjoyed the experience they encounter at Starbucks, and now for those who seek a high quality non-coffee drink can enjoy the same experience. By introducing these new summer drinks, Starbucks will enjoy an entirely new segment to market its products to. When looking at the sales revenues for the summer drinks it is important to consider that some of the existing customers will inevitably cross over and begin consuming the new drinks. In the end, the expansion of the product line is a wise decision because of the ease of adoption to Starbucks reputation for quality as well as the low cost of implementation.
The main competitor to the new summer drinks is Jamba Juice with its smoothies. Comparatively, Starbucks summer drinks are priced significantly lower. In addition to low comparative price, the perceived benefits for consuming a Starbucks drink are quite high for most consumers. Therefore, when a customer does a value analysis and divides perceived benefits by the price, the resulting value for the customer is quite high. With the price of the summer drinks being lower than it competitors, its price sensitivity is low. However, over time as consumers adopt the product they may become aware of other products and therefore the price sensitivity will increase overtime. The delicate balancing act is to manage the price of the drink low enough to gain market share while still preserving Starbucks’ prestigious image.
Starbucks distributes its New Frappuccino Blended Beverages directly to customers through its own retail stores. Currently these new Frappuccino flavors are only available in North American Stores. With numerous locations, it will be convenient for customers to buy these new Frappuccino products. These new Frappuccino flavors are available year round. Due to the demand and appeal of the products, revenue from this product will fluctuate as the seasons change.
The easiest methods for promoting the latest summer drinks are by internal advertisements within its retail stores, such as posters, new product signage, and other internal means. However, this type of promotion will have the least amount of effect on gaining more market share of non-coffee drinkers. Therefore we have done analysis of other mediums for promotion; the top 3 mediums of advertising, according to figures from 2000, include Newspaper, Network TV, and Spot TV . After reviewing the goal of increasing awareness of the product to attract people to the retail locations we recommend using a medium that today is in direct competition to the TV, website marketing. Starbucks has historically avoided advertisements on TV, due to attempts that had reduced the brand image, furthermore the cost to do TV spots is far greater then by websites, this is not to say they should not do TV spots, but we recommend they avoid head-to-head marketing with competitors such as McDonalds, and other Fast-food chains.
Starbucks has determined that most of its targeted customers consider themselves relatively technology savvy via the computer. An increasing number of companies are using the World Wide Web to communicate and after considerable review, we highly recommend a web campaign aimed to increase awareness of the Summer Drinks. Websites that are highly reputable or that can be partnered with will be the most successful in generating awareness. See Figure 9.
TV Commercials may also be done, however we do not recommend during the introduction stage. During Growth would be far more effective. See Figure 11.