Starbucks launches Digital Network and takes in-store experience to next level


On june 14th Starbucks boss Howard Schultz announced that it would launch a digital network in the fall of 2010.

Today, october 20th, Starbucks Digital Network goes live in nearly 6,800 U.S. company-operated Starbucks.

What’s the fuss all about? A digital network… Doesn’t almost any company have a “digital network” already… well NO.

Starbucks has taken it’s in-store experience a step further. Everyone is familiar with the free Wifi, the pick of the week card with iTunes music, books, dvd’s. But today, together with Yahoo, Starbucks has launched a content site that is only accessible through the WiFi network in the, company-operated, Starbucks stores.

This is what Starbucks says in it’s press release: “Serving up a collection of hand-picked premium news, entertainment and lifestyle content along with local insights and events, the Starbucks Digital Network, is powered by free Wi-Fi and available only in Starbucks stores. Developed for screens big and small, customers with Wi-Fi enabled laptops, tablets or smartphones can visit the network while in line or while enjoying their favorite beverage in the café.”

The Starbucks Digital Network Landing page:

The landing page on a mobile device:

The Starbucks network serves a mix of content. Some of it is available elsewhere and some of it exclusively available to visitors of the network. Some is free some isn’t. 

For example: “Launch week kicks off with a trio of exclusive offers on the Starbucks Digital Network’s Entertainment channel including free music tracks, a movie clip with charitable ties and a novel sneak preview. Straight from iTunes, customers get exclusive free access to two songs and a video from new band Fistful of Mercy featuring Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison”

Movie fans can enjoy a special clip from the Paramount Vantage film, “Waiting for ‘Superman’.”

And third: an extensive excerpt from “Rescue”, the new upcoming novel by best-selling and acclaimed author of 10 New York Times bestsellers, Anita Shreve.

“Designed to Connect, Inform and Entertain.”

Starbucks chose to offer six channels.

  1. News (Free access to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today eEdition.)
  2. Entertainment,
  3. Wellness,
  4. Business and careers, (With a connection to Linkedin)
  5. My Neighbourhood (My Neighborhood channel, brings Foursquare to a line-up that also features, Patch and Zagat),
  6. Starbucks (for the latests scoops on new drinks, events, offers and ideas from Starbucks or managing your Starbucks Card)

And you were probably wondering, aren’t they connecting to social media/networks ? Yes, they have thought of connecting the real with the virtual. “Customers can access a social media dashboard on the footer of the landing page featuring Starbucks four main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, My Starbucks Idea and YouTube.” 

The Starbucks Digital Network is the first in-store network of its kind. Starbucks obviously has a Social Media Strategy with an aim to keeping customers coming back, not shying away from new things. Beeing first in a new way of in-store experience and facilitating customers with more than their “core” product, coffee.

From a marketing and consumer experience point of view I really like the way Starbucks makes explicit choices. Shaping the in-store experience and not beeing afraid of beeing the first. In that way an example for more companies to dare and choose.

To bad their European locations strategy leaves much to be desired.

Do You Have A Social Media Strategy Yet ?



One response to “Starbucks launches Digital Network and takes in-store experience to next level

  1. Pingback: Starbucks is ontzettend goed in marketing « LUIT Consultancy

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