Monday, May 24, 2010

Starbucks Merchandising Clutter

Starbucks likes to merchandise.  Plussing up the guest experience includes providing extras that enhance a customer’s joy.  In Dallas, there is a certain location that seems to be taking this a bit far, or have I simply not noticed the clutter in other Starbucks?  I had to take a picture, because this place is just out of control- it looks like a bagel shop near us, where the owner can’t say no- anyone who 
walks in with something to sell is accommodated, and the counter and 
walls have disappeared behind layers of disparate signs and displays merchandising disconnected items.  Is this the future Starbucks, or a renegade?

Even if it were cleaned up, the nature of the merchandising suggests that the home office is a loosely confederated polyglot conglomeration of marketing fiefdoms who may or may not be in touch with each other.  Is there any planning or intent to connect the new Frappuccino with the enormous display of cold drink cups that clog up the lobby?  Someone told me the cardboard boxes the cups are displayed on are supposed to be ice cubes.  Well, they ARE white.  Good thing I got that interpretation, cause I never would have guessed.  The display is ginormous, but holds only a few cups.  I guess the labor to restock isn't an issue since the sales are likely depressed by how customer un-friendly it is.  Or because when you go in a Starbucks, you tune out the crap to get at the coffee. It is no longer entertaining, just aggravating.  Or, I may not be sensitive enough for the marketing gurus at Starbucks.

Oh, and would it be too obvious to connect the idea of using the cold cups and Frappuccinos to incent sales of each other?  C'mon, this is so basic.  Of course, that god-awful Taco Bell-tacky window cling may be all you need to sell the new Frappuccinos.

Since I am on a rant, why is it that no one (other than a single heroic barista), at Starbucks has ever told me what the benefits of Via are?  Or that it is really micro-ground beans, a super cool approach to instant coffee- no chemicals!  We don't get it out here, why the hell we should pay $1.00 for a cup for instant coffee when competitors sell for less than $0.15- BENEFITS?!  Yeah, it tastes good.  Not that good.  I am hoping that the European and international launches are run by smarter marketeers, cause instant is a big segment there.

Oh, and that new menu board?  It looks like a cheap Wichita café has stolen all the Starbucks drinks- hideous!  Marketing heads must roll!  It is hard to describe the nothingness I felt when I encountered it in the drive thru.

Is the trip back from the brink over and the Starbus turning back? Shall I sell SBUX?  Howard? Howard! Walk in the door, look around.  My shares are shaky.

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