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4 Apr ’12 Comments (5) Adventures, Better Bike Industry

The Starbucks Effect

Starbucks
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I’m a big fan of Starbucks and Apple. If you were to ask me two brands that I relate to in the most upwards of ways, it would be these two. I’m sure someone will hop on the comments and blast me about child labor or over priced coffee, but I like what I like.

Why does all this matter to bikes? Service matters.

I visit and pay full retail to the above places for the experience, customer service and reliability. I can walk into any Starbucks across the country and receive the same tasting green tea. I can walk into any Apple store and receive the same great shopping experience. I have used Apple products pretty strictly since 2002, they work, they last and they come loaded with many things I need. They are more expensive but the experience and product is worth it for me.

As I travel through my territory of the Southeast the question of online price wars comes up and I always bring up the examples of Apple and Starbucks. These two hold true to their core mission, and have well trained staff. When was the last time you went into look at Apple products and you saw a huge SALE sign? They actually go out of their way on their website to put discounted or refurbished product out of the main view of the consumer. (It is all the way on the bottom of the navigation bar on the left.)

When was the last time you asked the person making your coffee if you can give them less than their asking price?

Discounting product does not win customers for life.

Experienced staff, a pleasant shopping experience, reliability and amazing service is what wins customers for life. There is a reason that the Gap owns Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic. Different shopping experiences, different quality of product and different prices. All of them have well trained staff, thoughtfully laid out merchandise and HAPPY staff.

I shop at all three depending what I need, and each location I walk away with a good experience.

Consumers, I encourage you to give feedback to your local shops.

Did you stop shopping there because they kept messing up your bike when you brought it in for a tuneup? Did they sell you the wrong tube size 3 times? Did someone rub you wrong because they were grouchy and lacked customer service? Was your experience one that left you shaking your head and heading straight to google to find what you needed online?

I still try local coffee shops when I’m traveling, I buy clothes from other places as well, but when in a pinch I know who I can rely on and in todays times when we are all running around like crazy, this matters more to me than saving 5%.

5 Responses to The Starbucks Effect

  1. steve says:

    Great points – there is a lot of value besides low pricing. I like to think that bike shops are offering something that goes well beyond selling bicycles. Bikes are important, of course, but there is a deeper core experience that the customer is really after. I tried to write about it on a recent post using some other examples . try to imagine with your favorite bike shop..

    http://tingilinde.typepad.com/omenti/2012/04/homeward-bound.html

  2. Troy says:

    Thank you for singing the praises of Starbucks!

    I’m a Starbucks Partner (employee) and it drives me crazy when people bash us for our so called over priced drinks (most coffee shops are similarly priced) and because were the Goliath and we put Mom and Pops out of business. How many Mom-N-Pops have started because of the coffee culture we created?

    If coffee shops have gone out of business it’s because they didn’t run a good business. I go to other coffee shops, but I know that I can get my same coffee or tea no matter which Starbucks I walk into around the world.

    The people who complain have no idea how much social good that cup of coffee buys.

    They need to go read our annual Global Responsibility Report and then mouth off.

    EVERY partner gets $1500 a year in matching donations of time and money over $20.

    We offer health care to domestic partners.

    We’re not perfect, no one is, but we always strive to do the right thing. How many other companies do the same?

    Send me an address and I’ll send you some tea (or coffee). Thanks for your great blog!

    http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report

  3. Suzanne says:

    Starbucks is also creating a movement right now to Create Jobs for USA by providing funding to small businesses. Pretty cool program: http://www.createjobsforusa.org/

    Thinking about trying to get a loan through one of their lenders for my business.

    • Troy says:

      You should. I’d love to know how the process was for you. My wife is an out of work teacher and she is considering getting a loan as well.

  4. Todd says:

    I’m not really a patron of Starbucks because I don’t drink, coffee, rarely drink tea, and rarely drink anything with caffeine. I do however, love Apple. I’m on my third Apple laptop now and I have nothing but great things to say about their consumer customer service. There are few companies that I can really give a qualified thumbs up to when it comes to customer service and that’s really unfortunate. I also do a fair share of online shopping with a bulk of my online dollars spent with Amazon. I normally avoid wares sold through Amazon affiliates but, I’ve been quite pleased with the goods that Amazon sells directly. I’ve heard great things about Zappos when it comes to buying shoes online but, for me, a shoe is something I’m still going to buy locally. You have to be sure you’re going to get the proper fit and buying a bicycle is no different. I think a local bike shop with a properly trained staff is probably the best way to go, especially for a new rider.

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