Following the rollout of Starbucks’ recent instant coffee creation, I wondered, will it really work?
“Starbucks VIA™” markets itself as “an easy way to enjoy the great taste of Starbucks coffee when you’re not near a Starbucks store”.
Firstly, isn’t Starbucks all over the place anyway? The customer base of Starbucks are likely to be able to tell you exactly where their nearest Starbucks is, and they are likely use the service as part of their daily routine, on their way to work, university, before getting on the train, etc.
Secondly, I think that Starbucks has also created a culture which revolutionized customizing your own coffee. I certainly know that I couldn’t start the day without an extra hot soy milk vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso. I really don’t think that a filter coffee product will satisfy my cravings for Starbucks.
To be honest, I think that this new move by Starbucks is more “damage control” than innovation. I think that, following the recession, people are more likely to be making coffee at home to take to work, or to have in a flask. I think that Starbucks has identified this trend in “making do”, and so wants to be a part of it.
Starbucks’ market tend to be 16-34 year olds, who have recently shifted towards using more affordable chains and products, so why wouldn’t Starbucks move with them in this shift?
Psychologically, it is obvious that making your own coffee at home and taking it with you seems cheaper than buying two or more cups of coffee on the go.
As for other instant coffee suppliers, I don’t think that they have anything to worry about, according to Mintel, only 1 in 5 regular coffee drinkers expressed an interest in buying coffee-shop branded coffee.
I know that if I was in a situation whereby I could not afford to buy Starbucks on the go, I would certainly see a Starbucks branded coffee supermarket item as a luxury, and I would not deviate from my usual, or a supermarket own coffee brand.
My verdict is that Starbucks should have realized that today, most people would not even visit a Starbucks store for a filter coffee, they should have created custom items.
They should also have not created their own culture of creating a service which the market has integrated into their daily routines.
If Starbucks Via tm fails, it is a mess which they have created for themselves.
It’s gotta take balls though, no? Big up to Starbucks :D