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What Marketers Can Learn From Starbucks’ Stores in Beijing

Starbucks is finding new ways to connect with Chinese consumers in Beijing, China. According to Fast Company, Starbucks is adding amenities such as live music and lower softer seating to develop a “lounge feel” in its store to allow Chinese consumers to sit across from each other and possibly become friends. Starbucks’ efforts to make its stores more social is to accommodate the local culture.
Due to China’s one-child policy, many young Chinese people grow up alone and companionless. This has caused many Chinese men to have remain unmarried and young adults to feel responsible, or even pressured, to financially take care of themselves, their parents, and 4 grandparents.
To help the young Chinese demographic expand their networks and develop meaningful relationships, Starbucks has made their Beijing stores more sociable to increase customer interaction. In addition, Starbucks has made the stores open 24 hours. This has ultimately help Starbucks impress of their customers and encouraged them to frequent their stores.

Here’s what marketers can learn from Starbucks’ changes in its Beijing stores:

  1. Know who your audience is and what their needs are

    By knowing who your consumers are and what problems they have, you can cater your products or services seamlessly to their needs. Similar to how Starbucks has made its stores more sociable for young Chinese adults to meet new friends, you can add new product features, enhance customer service, or remove shipping fees to meet your consumer demand. As Jeff Bezos of Amazon once said, “we see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.

  2. Study local culture before expanding overseas

    Our culture can affect how we think, behave, and interact with each other. Just like how Chinese young adults have a immense desire for companionship due to their lack of siblings growing up, people of other nations may also have specific needs because of the culture and environment they faced as children. For marketers, this means that you have to study each country’s culture carefully before you start launching new retail stores overseas or offering your products or services in other markets. Without detailed marketing research on your target market’s culture, you’ll miss out on valuable information regarding your consumers’ problems and needs. This will subsequently deter you from effectively cater your unique selling proposition to your consumers.

  3. Convert your consumers into loyal customers

    According to Forbes, it’s 50% easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer. Hence, customer retention is key to a company success. By continuously nurturing positive relationship with your current customers, you’ll be able to maximize their longtime values. This can help you generate steady revenue to sustain your company while continuously to explore new markets. Starbucks has done so by enhancing it in-store experience and encourage its consumers to frequently visit its stores. Without effectively retaining its customers, Starbucks will be forced to keep on advertising and marketing its brand, causing them to increase its costs and hurt its profit margin. For other businesses or marketers, you also have to consider the importance of customer retention because without an effective customer retention program, you’ll fall into a vicious cycle of continuously finding new prospective and converting them into customers – a process that’s extremely costly and mentally-draining.

By emulating Starbucks’ unique marketing approaches, you’ll be able to effectively connect with your audience. Moreover, you’ll be able to cater your products or services in relation to your consumers’ interests and establish lifetime relationships with your customers. This will help you continue to grow your company and explore new, exciting consumer markets.