The experience at Starbucks may have everything these days: coffee, tea, food, WiFi, couches, merch, and even alcohol in some stores. But one thing Starbucks does not have anymore? An online store.
As of October 1, you may not have noticed that Starbucks quietly shut down its online purchasing portal. Now if you navigate to store.starbucks.com, you will be met with a simple FAQ page that explains how people should try to get their coffee or other products now that the online page is closed.
Starbucks posted in August that it would be closing the store as of October 1, thwarting the trend of cashing in on internet commerce.The big question that have many scratching their head is the why. As the economy shifts more to prize eCommerce, why would a retail giant like Starbucks, who made almost $4.2 billion dollars last year, would halt another opportunity to generate more revenue?
“We’re continuing to invest in amplifying Starbucks as a must-visit destination and are looking across our portfolio to make disciplined, thoughtful decisions,” Spokesperson Maggie Jantzen said in a statement for the New York Times.
This decision has come at the moment where corporate management of Starbucks aims to “simplify” everything from its sales channels to its barista drink making process in order to focus on the customer experience. Shutting down the online store to make a Starbucks cafe a retail destination seems to support the concept of making the neighborhood Starbucks a staple in the community. CEO Howard Schultz also said that offering a branded online store was not optimal, as long as Amazon or other digital third parties were able to sell your product as well.
A big takeaway from this case study for business owners is to not negate the importance of the in-person customer service experience. When a giant like Starbucks decides to put all its focus into one domain in order to make that area the best it possibly can, that’s a life lesson for small business owners. This approach to commerce underlines the importance of trying to streamline and simplify by excelling in one area, instead of being “just fine” in several.