Today, millions of people think of Starbucks when they hear the word, “coffee”. In the past, it was just a regular store but over time, it has somehow turned into a global network that increases its sales every day. Of course, this place has good coffee but how do they manage to attract so many people to their cafes? There’s no magic to it — everything is logical. They just employ a few clever marketing tricks to get your attention.
Bright Side analyzed the strategy of the coffee giant and found several secrets that Starbucks uses to make their customers loyal fans.
1. Starbucks uses different furniture to regulate its number of customers.
Fans of the brand have probably noticed that sometimes Starbucks wants you to leave faster, so they use uncomfortable furniture. The secret is the location of the cafe. If a Starbucks is in a busy place and there are a lot of people there, the chairs are extremely uncomfortable — very hard and without a back. This means that after 30 minutes or less of drinking coffee, you’ll likely make room for a new customer. But warm restaurants on empty streets are very different.
Also, Starbucks doesn’t buy tall coffee machines because they hide baristas from clients. The staff is always happy to see you. They believe that customers should feel a personal connection with the people that work there.
2. An age-old marketing trick allows the company to earn a lot of money.
In psychology, there is a term known as FOMO — the fear of missing out, which is when a potential customer is scared of missing a discount or a good buy. TV commercials and social media allow this fear to thrive. A regular customer thinks, “Everyone is drinking this new limited series frappuccino and I’m not.”
Starbucks uses people’s weaknesses and makes exclusive drinks all the time trying to convince us that if you don’t try them now, it will be too late to do so next week.
3. The prices on the menu are written in a special way.
In Starbucks restaurants, the prices end with a 5 or a 0. This is because these numbers easily hide a change in price. According to statistics, customers don’t notice an increase in price if it’s not rounded up. Our brains round up the numbers automatically in order to hide imperfections.
4. Special lighting will make you buy something you didn’t plan on getting.
Starbucks uses lighting to make customers open their wallets and spend more money. When you enter a Starbucks, the place is dark but the cash register area and the shelves with the products are very well-lit. People react to well-lit objects and make impulsive purchases.
This helps the restaurant kill 2 birds with 1 stone: they lead you in the necessary direction and also draw your attention to the products they want to sell the most.
5. Strong coffee roasting makes clients buy expensive drinks.
According to experts, Starbucks roasts coffee beans too much. Such roasting is considered to be Italian and is great only for the strongest espresso. The taste of such coffee is only tolerable by people who enjoy a strong espresso and the rest have to buy frappuccinos or lattes. Obviously, they are more expensive, so clients are trained to buy lighter versions of very bitter coffee.
This type of roasting also doesn’t allow you to realize what kind of coffee you’re drinking: blind tests show that people can’t tell a Starbucks coffee from a competitor’s beverage.
6. Cash registers are located in such a way that you won’t want to leave.
Starbucks borrowed this trick from clothing stores. The cash register area is located in the middle or in the farther end of the cafe. This makes you walk past the comfortable tables and sofas. And many clients want to stay and drink some coffee even if they didn’t plan to.
Maybe after you get comfortable, you’ll decide to order one more drink or a dessert — and spend more money, of course.
7. You feel as if you’re part of something elite.
Starbucks is a premium class brand. The company works for people with average to high income. This means that customers are people who can afford to pay a lot for simple things (coffee, baked goods, etc.).
In marketing, there’s even a term, “Starbucks effect” which is when a company creates its image as “premium” and sells its products at a higher price. But people don’t feel angry about this, they actually rush to pay money for these products. And it’s not about the quality of the coffee or the atmosphere. Many people believe that they’re buying something exclusive that’s “not for everyone”, and they’ll visit again.
Here’s an amazing fact: The most expensive coffee is sold in Starbucks in Russia. A tall latte in Russian cities costs almost 2 times more than in Poland, for example.
8. The power of the brand defies our common sense.
Starbucks deliberately spends a lot of its money on commercials. Just in the previous year alone, they spent $260 million on advertising. The largest amount of money is spent on increasing the loyalty of clients — now Starbucks is a synonym for “coffee”, and vice versa. Just think about the recent story about Game of Thrones.
Season 8, episode 4 of the hit show earned Starbucks $2.3 billion. And it was all because of a simple mistake: one of the crew members forgot a coffee cup on set and everyone thought it was a Starbucks cup, but it actually wasn’t! The drink was bought from a different place but nobody even thought that it could be anything but Starbucks.
Now producers are apologizing for the mistake they made and Starbucks is enjoying the free promotion.
9. The brand lures people in with commercials about fresh baked goods but it’s just not true.
A Reddit user told readers that all Starbucks’ bakeries use frozen foods. “It is amazing how many people don’t know about that. It doesn’t mean the bakery is not tasty, it’s just that it isn’t fresh and it’s sold at an unreasonably high price.”
If you want to save money or you want to eat only fresh baked goods, Starbucks is not your best option.
Bonus: We know how to save money at Starbucks.
Starbucks restaurant employees and fans shared their tips and life hacks on how to spend as little money as possible at these establishments. Save this list in order to keep your bank account safe when visiting Starbucks.
- If you come to Starbucks with a puppy, there is something tasty for them too (even if it’s not on the menu). Just ask for a Puppuccino and your good dog will get a cup of whipped cream.
You can order Starbucks drinks at “kids’ temperature” and the drink will be much cooler — saving you a burnt tongue.
An employee wearing a black apron is a very rare, lucky thing to see. These guys have experienced a lot of courses and seminars, so they can make the best coffee drinks.
You can visit Starbucks with a cup you can use many times. So, if you buy just one cup a day, you will save $200 by the end of the year.
- On average, medium (grande) and big (venti) cappuccino cups contain the same amount of espresso. It’s just that the big cup has more syrup and milk but the caffeine level is the same. So, if you want to feel fresh and save some money, you can simply order a smaller drink because the effect will be the same.
Let’s admit it, coffee from a coffee house often seems to be tastier than what we drink at home. That’s why it can be really hard to resist buying a cup of cappuccino. But after reading all this, we can be more reasonable about buying our favorite drinks and try not to be tricked by famous brands.
Is there a Starbucks in your city? Can you simply walk past it and not buy a cup of hot coffee?