AutoPoint Blog

Starbucks Is Playing Offense & What Dealers Can Learn From It

Posted by Manuel Soto Saturday, November 29, 2014

Starbucks recently announced plans to roll out a delivery service in some key major markets. This follows on the heels of an initiative which allows customers to place their drink orders via smartphones, so as to minimize wait times.

Starbucks has a very loyal customer base and many locations routinely see long lines and wait times. Despite this inconvenience, people still go. Is their coffee that much better than other establishments? That’s a matter of personal taste, but there can be no doubt that many Starbucks see more than their share of traffic on a daily basis.

That being said, the Seattle-based café chain, recently reported disappointing revenue caused in part by weak traffic in the US. Unwilling to lose further market share, the company is not resting on its laurels, but is now trying out a new delivery service.

“Imagine the ability to create a standing order at Starbucks, delivered hot or iced to your desk daily. That’s our version of e-commerce on steroids,” CEO Howard Schultz told analysts on a conference call. “We are playing offense.”

Seeing a problem in their market, Starbucks first made getting your coffee fix more convenient by allowing consumers to use technology, namely a new phone app, to order ahead. Now, they’re taken it one step further with the delivery of coffee right to your desk. In so doing Starbuck’s hopes to completely eliminate the excuse of long wait times that prevents some customers from choosing them over their competition.

How does this apply to us in the auto industry? Well, the rise of the Jiffy Lube’s of the world came through the promise of speed and convenience. Are they able to provide a faster experience than your dealership? That depends on your volume, staffing and efficiency.

Today’s consumers demand convenience, speed and efficiency. To steal a term from Starbucks, it may be time to play offense. Rather than discounting oil changes to attract new customers, perhaps it’s worth taking a look at how you could make the vehicle service experience faster and more convenient for your customers. It could well pay dividends in loyal customers and increased service revenue.


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