Starbucks Foursquare Failure
I taught 6th grade for a year and as a result I ended up with a nice little caffeine addiction due to the long days. After I left teaching and moved back into the tech/start-up world, I got my coffee fix from Starbucks instead of the watered-down coffee they had in the cafeteria. My wife and I would stop at the same Starbucks every morning after we got the kids off to school and we’d even go on the weekends as a family as it was a nice way to start our day together. About 70% of the time I’d check-in using Foursquare and, as you can imagine, I locked down the mayorship rather quickly and held it for a long time amassing 757 check-ins to a single Starbuck location.
Once our schedules and office locations changed my wife and I wouldn’t stop in together in the mornings and she stopped going altogether due to an office move, but i kept going. For my last birthday my wife gave me a Keurig and I immediately got hooked and stopped going to the Starbucks that I had been going to almost daily for nearly 5 years.
Foursquare is a great tool for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with some of their best customers for free. Not only can stores provide check-in discounts, but they can also see how many times someone has visited a store and not rely upon the staff to remember who comes in and how often. The value of knowing who comes into the store and how often is extremely valuable. Think about the valuable Net Promoter Score metric and how it measures how likely a person is to recommend a product. A store can assume that customers who are loyal and visit the store multiple times a week would be considered high promoters. In my current position, we target those people and find out how they can help us promote our product to others as well as ask them for how we need to improve the product. With more and more start-ups, and Google, looking to connect the online and offline shoppers the data provided by Foursquare is very valuable.
So, when I stopped checking in Starbucks should have immediately reached out and asked why. They were not only losing revenue (I’ll let you do the math on that) but an obvious brand advocate and I held numerous coffee meetings at the location. While Starbucks may not be actively using Foursqaure for promotion, they should to have been at least monitoring it and watching the volume of check-ins, pictures and comments. Brick-and-mortar locations need to be aware of the social media conversations happening about their store even if they are not actively using those tools. The information provided is just to valuable to ignore.
Many SaaS products ask for a reason when a customer cancels their account and Starbucks should have done the same. Asking a valuable customer why they are no longer visiting a store could have provided them with valuable information. Maybe they could have told me that Keurig offers Starbuck coffee cups. Even just learning that customers are moving towards home brewers would have been of value to Starbucks.
Post title image courtesy of Unsplash.