In review of the changes that Starbucks has implemented in the last 2 years, there appears to have accelerated its expansion into more Asian markets; presented the general public with several new Frappuccino flavors; changed the dynamics of its beverages in terms of calorie count; a coffee education blog was started and the company has sought to involve consumers more in terms of the types of beverages that are offered within its locations.
Specific Information that Was Needed to Make the Decisions
In order to effectively make the decisions that it has made within the last 2 years, Starbucks management would have needed to conduct surveys, and to listen to the feedback of its consumers. Many of the changes have been to its menu and this would suggest that consumers were requesting said shift. According to Bias (2014), companies like Starbucks examine their menu and try to make sense in terms of what new products and directions will provide it the greatest return on investment. This involves an examination of the types of consumers that frequent its stores, and the specifics surrounding who buys what (p.1). For example, management would have needed to analyze whether the hot beverages are selling more than the cold ones, and the aspects of the flavors that are selling. Moreover, they would have also needed to examine the information pertaining to the appeal that the company has in countries outside of the United States and Canada. Trefis (2016) contends that the company has broadened its scope in the countries of India and China as recently as 2015, as it has observed changes in terms of performance financially for both countries (p.1). This is the type of information that was needed for the company to make such changes.
Bias (2014) comments that companies are always looking ahead and Starbucks is no different in this regard. There is a continual assessment and examination of consumer behavior data and financial information that allows for a change in strategy to be made if deemed necessary. Furthermore, companies, especially within the food and beverage sectors, tend to want to know that the decisions that they are making are sound – and will have a potent effect in terms of making a difference in the brand’s reputation and notoriety (p.1). For Starbucks, this means that it continuously observers the consumer behavior data that it mines, and subsequently, makes changes if deemed appropriate.
Specific Sources That Provide Information for Starbucks
As mentioned earlier, companies tend to use data mining tools to obtain consumer behavior data, but they also use the information that is gleaned from their own reporting. The financial department(s) will assess the specifics in terms of profitability of certain beverages and services that Starbucks is providing currently to see where it can expand - and if this expansion would be lucrative for the company. This helps to explain why when the company adopts a new flavor of its cold beverage, it typically makes a hot version available as well.
The reverse is not always true for its hot beverage implementations. This would suggest that a certain source of data contends that its hot beverage consumers are very different from its cold beverage consumers, but that its cold beverage consumers are likely to purchase a hot beverage from time to time. The needed information can also be obtained from surveys and focus groups that can be conducted on the elements associated with the Starbucks brand. This would provide an additional understanding of how the company is performing, outside of the financial data which relays it.
Starbucks is continuing to expand its reputation across the beverage world. The company thoroughly understands the importance and relevance of keeping its brand viable and reputable within the eyes of consumers. This is why most of the changes that have occurred within the last 2 years have been related to its products and locations. The company, through an extensive amount of data mining and financial analysis, has figured and continues to figure out the best approaches to increase its notoriety among consumers, and remaining more than just a niche coffee business amidst other brands in the marketplace.
Bias, W. (2014, February 11). New Products and New Directions in the Beverage Industry. The Motley Fool, Retrieved from http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/02/11/new-products-and-new-directions-in-the-beverage-in.aspx
Raorane, A., & Kulkarni, R. V. (n.d.). DATA MINING TECHNIQUES: A SOURCE FOR CONSUMER BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS [Paper]. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1109/1109.1202.pdf
Trefis. (2016, January 21). Starbucks: Accelerated Expansion Growth in Asian Markets To Be The Highlight For 2016 . Retrieved from NASDAQ website: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/starbucks-accelerated-expansion-growth-in-asian-markets-to-be-the-highlight-for-2016-cm568708