Starbucks Highlights Importance of Multichannel E-Commerce

Coffee chain Starbucks has a business model that is arguably more resilient in the face of e-commerce encroachment than many other firms that rely on high street sales to stay afloat.

While big name retailers like HMV and Blockbuster have found that rival online companies can quickly reduce their once dominant businesses to almost nothing, the type of products sold by Starbucks, combined with the inherently social nature of its outlets, has helped it to avoid many of the pressures of the recession, even if it has come under scrutiny due to its alleged tax avoidance.

However, even established organisations like Starbucks need to embrace e-commerce and take a multichannel approach to retail if they are going to survive.
Evidence of this can be found in the recent earnings announcement made by Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz. He told analysts that the company is looking to push forwards with the creation of a more robust e-commerce offering, putting the emphasis on mobile platforms as the best place to achieve success.
A recent report from Buzz City, found that consumers have never been more confident in e-commerce and m-commerce platforms, with many now convinced that previous concerns over the security of making payments from a portable device are unfounded.
This is good news for Starbucks, since it has recently been rumoured that the company is looking to create yet more ways for customers to pay via e-commerce services, even when they are in-store.
Channelling cash through an online site optimised for mobiles, or indeed a dedicated, standalone app for popular smartphone devices, can help retailers to stimulate sales in bricks and mortar stores.
This is relevant for many e-commerce businesses, whether or not the company in question has a real world outlet in addition to its online presence.
It shows that the e-commerce strategies going forward need to take into account the fact that consumers will expect to be able to shop online with a retailer via multiple channels.
Having a single user account that allows people to make purchases, whether they are surfing from their PC or using a dedicated e-commerce mobile app, can help ensure there is the necessary consistency that will keep customers coming back for more.
Meanwhile, the companies that want to snare potential clients in the first place need to adapt desktop-oriented e-commerce sites into mobile optimised experiences, so that smartphone users are redirected automatically.
E-commerce website design is a complicated and important process, particularly for any business that wants to remain competitive in a marketplace where consumer expectations are sky high.
What Starbucks wants to achieve in-store is no different from what average companies should look to strive towards in online functionality. Tens of billions of pounds will be spent through m-commerce in 2013 and unless a website is prepared, it might find itself losing out to savvier rivals.
The aforementioned Buzz City report discovered that mobiles are tools that consumers use to make impulse purchases, which is yet another reason not to ignore emerging trends like this.