Why Starbucks doesn’t want me as a customer

“Mom, you were such a good customer.  Send a message to the President of the company telling him why you aren’t going there anymore.”   My son did some shopping for me before I got back from Florida and he was surprised to find out that I no longer went to Starbucks to get my ½ pound of Verona coffee. 

I didn’t send them a message.  I understood fully why they had stopped selling smaller amounts of coffee.  To get a ½ pound the counter person had to open a package of coffee and weigh it out.  He/she then had to reseal the pound package they opened and hope someone would come in to buy the other half. 

For the months preceding the time I stopped going in there I noticed that everyone had trouble ringing up ½ pound.  There evidently was no clear button for it on the cash register.  I also observed that the scale was almost always put away somewhere or was broken so they had difficulty getting me what I wanted.  (I even got a free half pound or ¼ pound extra a few times to make up for not having the scale available.) Not having good working equipment was a clear signal to me that selling less than a pound was not something they wanted to do.

The last time I went into Starbucks the person waiting on me told me he could not sell me a ½ pound.  When I said I had bought that amount in that Starbucks a week earlier, he called his manager.  I told her the same thing and said the person who waited on me previously wasn’t there that day.  She indicated that maybe that was why he wasn’t there.  I was annoyed and left with no purchase.

From that time on I bought my coffee in the supermarket. It was not nearly as good because I have to buy a pound at a time so my coffee beans were not as fresh but it did let me explore other competing brands and also get coffee on sale.

In the meantime I must say that I fully understand why Starbucks no longer sells fractional pounds.  I am not in their target market.  They really hope that customers like me will go to the supermarket. 

Starbucks wants customers who like fancy drinks and come in more than once a week to get their special treat.  They want you to sit there and have a few special drinks even if it is just plain coffee.  It is really a nonalcoholic bar-a friendly place to enjoy your beverage.

Judging from the prices on those drinks, they are probably making lots of money from that.  Selling coffee to brew can be done in lots of other places.  Creating a relaxing friendly atmosphere where people can meet friends and enjoy their special beverage is unique to Starbucks.  The people who value that go to Starbucks. 

I still buy Starbucks Coffee most of the time.  I do like their Verona Coffee which is a dark roast but not as dark as French Roast.  I’ve have tried other coffees and probably will continue to occasionally taste others but for the most part my default is Starbucks Verona. 

How does this relate to your business?  Do you know exactly what customers you are after and can you describe them?  Starbucks still sends me email and most of it is about games they have devised to get customers to buy more than one of their fancy drinks.  So you can bring your friend for a drink and you get extra stars toward a free drink and Starbucks maybe gets a new customer.

Not only does Starbucks know who their customer is but they know how to get more of them.  How about you?  Do you know exactly who to market to and how to get more customers just like the ones you have?

Read more about marketing and finding your target market. Go to Marketing Your Practice.

Coaching Opportunity

Need help defining your target market?  A coach can help you to clarify your target market.  Once you can clearly define your target market, it will be easier for you to write good marketing material, Identify those clients you already have that are in your target market, and clearly define what a good client for you looks like.  If this is something you are interested in pursuing call Alvah Parker at 781-598-0388 or email her at asparker@asparker.com to set up an appointment.


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