Tag Archives: starbucks

For innovation: listen to your customers but don’t believe them

Big data and analytics are going to alter customer experiences through personalization. But, companies should be wise get out of the building and not assume that big data is an innovation silver bullet.

As companies adopt social and big data technologies, automation and anticipation will become hotly adopted strategies to create or enhance existing offerings. For some industries, such as retail, providing the option for customers to order through their mobile phone is the first step towards automation and anticipation, and pretty soon we’ll start seeing people’s orders waiting for them before they even order them.

With all the data about customer habits it has accumulated over the years, Starbucks is a company that is uniquely positioned to do this. I don’t know the exact number of times the average person stops by Starbucks on their way to work, but I’m sure it is in the 3 day average.

That’s an ingrained habit.

But, even with some sense of certainty of what people might do, we still have to ask ourselves some questions: How will customers benefit from us anticipating what they will order today? At what point does novelty wear off? How will it make them feel? What would make them feel less uncomfortable?

The case for discovering what business you are really in

General Assembly 2013

General Assembly 2013 (Photo credit: Paradise Nazarene)

What business are you really in?

Most can’t answer this question. And if they do, it is a rather functional driven answer such as: we make vacuums.

How meaningful and memorable is that?

I was reading through a note about General Assembly, a co-working space, and how it is shutting down it’s co-working services for entrepreneurs and instead focus on education:

Why should companies launch imperfect products?

Why should companies launch imperfect products?

Although we think there are exceptions to the rule (Apple, Square), no company ever launches a complete product.

The Lean Startup advocates that entrepreneurs can and should launch products and services that are not %100 percent complete. This idea, of constant experimentation, is not new. Most products that are launched by startups are an initial prototype that tests for market validation.

Big companies, by their nature, don’t do this. At least not all of them.

Starbucks, for example, is an outlier. If you’ve read about how Statbucks got started, then you won’t be surprised. As outlined on a Fast Company article, they’ve recently taken to experiment with new marketing channels, such as Groupon, and in doing so put their huge digital platform to the test:

Rethink your business by what you know not what you do

I was talking with a friend business owner this weekend about growth opportunities. Our conversation took a turn when he expressed to me that it’s hard to compete when there are a lot of other businesses offering the same thing he does. Well my friend, it doesn’t have to be that way.

For the sake of being practical, we humans like to categorize everything to most simple things, rules of thumb. They work for awhile, but the problem is that sooner than later they become rules we follow and we never stop to think why we actually follow them.