The Caffeinated Comeback of Starbucks

How retail savvy and technological innovation boosted the retailer

Starbucks
The ubiquitous coffee retailer is making a comeback
Shinji_W/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / July 28, 2019 3:29 pm

The last year has been a good one for Starbucks: according to a Los Angeles Times report, “the stock has now soared 93% in the last 12 months.” Not bad for a company who’d been struggling with slower growth and management concerns in recent years. What’s prompted this sudden turnaround in the company’s fortunes — and what, if anything, can it tell us about the retail landscape locally and abroad? 

According to analysts quoted by the Los Angeles Times report, two main factors have contributed to Starbucks’s resurgence: a successful foray into China and deft use of an online ordering app. For the latter, the app went hand-in-hand with a shift in working processes in Starbucks’s locations.

The company has worked to streamline its app to drive higher visits and sales, juggled employees’ tasks to limit bottlenecks caused by in-store pickups of online orders, and tweaked its loyalty program to enable members to earn rewards faster than before.

The changes to Starbucks’s loyalty program have not gone without some criticism: a CNBC report from earlier this year expressed some concern over whether or not those changes might frustrate regular customers. 

But for now, the alterations seem to have worked. The full report delves into other areas where subtle shifts in Starbucks’s strategy paid off in the long run — and caused their customers to consume more caffeine along the way.

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