Business Success In the 21st Century

Starbucks opened its first coffee house in 1971 and now has 15,000 stores in 50 countries. Its vision is to provide ‘a place for conversation and a sense of community, a third place between work and home’.

In recent years, as businesses experience the most difficult economic environment in decades you might think Starbucks is suffering, not least because of the discretionary nature of its luxury coffee.

Surprisingly, however, this is not the case as the company is experiencing it busiest year and once again expanding and investing in new coffee shops and new markets.

Given the current state of the economy and the level of competition in its market, the question is: how does Starbucks do it and what are the lessons for other businesses?

Starbuck’s suggest there are two economies at present – a weak economy and a strong economy – and that by appealing to the strong spending economy they attract more customers and increase sales.

They revisited the need to offer greater value for money to their hard-pressed customers affected by the weak economy through loyalty programmes and other initiatives.

One of their biggest breakthroughs, however, came in their active and focussed use of technology to facilitate, engage and learn from their customers.

Their website highlights their core values as a business and is used to share customer experiences and get feedback on new product and service ideas.

Starbucks embraced the phenomenal growth in digital and social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to attract new customers and reduce the costs of traditional marketing activities.

Their use of technology has the added benefit of ensuring the company keeps up to-date with future trends such as the use of mobile payments; a recent yet growing trend amongst their technologically aware customer base.

The company’s embrace of technology in such a complete way engages younger customers who are likely to be regular and long-term buyers of its increasing range of products.

SO, in a struggling economy one company in a fiercely competitive market has found a way to attract new customers, increase sales and generate profits; can others do the same?

What do you think? Is your business ready for success in the 21st century? Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.