The consumer decision process implies a number of stages that the buyer will go through before actually making the final buying decision. The main goal of a marketer is to know what a consumer is lacking of. Starbucks has satisfied their customers in each step of the decision making process to guarantee the retention of customers. Problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase and post-purchase behaviour are stages included in the consumer purchasing decision making process (Friesner, 2014).
According to Karimi (2013), the first stage is the recognition of the particular need. The purchaser wants to satisfy a want or a need that is emerging. The buyer sense that something is absent and desires to resolve it in order to be satisfied. The arousing recognition of a need by internal stimuli which are thirst and hunger and external stimuli such as advertisement exposure. Starbucks is among the famous coffee trademarks in the world. When a consumer is thirsty a cup of coffee is needed, they will automatically consider buying Starbucks’ coffee because this brand is already stuck in the buyers’ mind-set. Above that, Starbucks can also satisfy consumer’s social need apart from physiological need (Cherry, 2015). Social need describes an individual’s longing for the sense of belonging for social recognition. The relaxing and chill ambiance of Starbucks which is suitable for consumers to chat and hangout will attract consumers because of the lifestyle and image portrayed by Starbucks. Consumer senses that by drinking a cup of Starbucks coffee will have a higher social status comparing to consumers who drink other brands’ coffee. Consumer will move on to the next stage which is the information stage after the problem is recognised.
According to Perner (2010), customers search for information regarding the services or products which has been recognised in the problem recognition stage. The level of involvement and the complexity of the purchase will affect a consumer to seek out for less or more informations. Consumers will seek for information internally or externally during information search stage. Previous experiences of the customer are known as internal information. Consumers will remember the past experience they had with the coffeehouse which include the amusing ambient, brilliant customer service and the coffee aroma in the shop after recognising their needs. Informations which are obtain from family and friends are external informations. Customers seem to trust the recommendations coming from friends and family more rather than commercial info. Starbucks Coffee believes that consumers will always come back for more coffees and will share their experiences with the people around them about the quality coffee and good customer service provided. For example, Abel telling Oscar about the taste of Starbucks Frappuccino Java Chip which is so refreshing. This strategy has led to Starbucks’ net income to increase from $540.7 million to $983.1 million (Giammona, 2015). Is prove that Starbucks’ scheme in spreading optimistic word of mouth has created a competitive advantage to the firm when customers are looking for information.
After obtaining all the informations needed, consumers can now evaluate other brands that are offered such as ‘Coffee Bean and Gloria’s Jean Coffee’. Once the consumers have collected all the information regarding the different brands or products, they will be able to value each of the alternative products which are offered. The customers would evaluate the products based on quality, price, or other features that satisfy them the most in this evaluation stage. Customers are more demanding in choosing the product that fits them most. The atmosphere of a shop is taken into the consumer’s consideration besides the quality of the coffee. Starbucks is offering a warm and pleasing place for consumers who plan to enjoy the drinks with their networks and family at a comforting atmosphere. Besides that, baristas which are the drink makers will create a sincere connection with their consumers which will bring benefit to Starbucks (Chand, 2015). What is more, in the consumer purchase decision making process, location of the outlet might be one of the evaluation standard. Customers usually choose the outlet that offer them convenience and suits their own favourites like the design, services, music played and atmosphere. Convenience can be seen where Starbucks are positioned at the most strategic and tactical position universally. The position of the shop is with great people traffic and great prominence which is situated nearby office lots, university campus and commercial retail shops. Thus, Starbucks Coffee easily access by customers who needs to buy coffee. Besides that, few Starbucks stores will be open nearby each other to lessen the queue and consumer’s waiting time. Once one of the outlets is pack with customers, prospective buyers will be able to visit the next nearest Starbucks outlet to relish their coffee there. This approach will proficiently upsurge customer service as well as retaining customers.
Consumers will pick the most suitable brands and outlets among the many choices after valuing each of it at this stage. For instance Starbucks’ customers frequently stroll out with a drink although they do not have the wish to drink when they go into the shop. Customer will be stimulated to have the desire to consume coffee even if they are not in love with coffee cause by the shop’s overflowing coffee odour. At this stage, free testers are given out to consumers by Starbucks to introduce other different type of drinks. This method will improve the consumer purchasing process that will make a consumer satisfied with their beverages. Nevertheless, the consumer purchase decision might be disturbed by the bad criticisms from other people. Customers could change their thoughts if their friend shares the bad feedback of Starbucks. Hence, Starbucks has stressed on the word of mouth scheme to retain consumers with them (Court, 2009)
Consumers will assess whether they are satisfied or not with the product once consumers have bought and used the product. High customer satisfaction level will then lead to repeat sales. When a customer is satisfied with the purchase, they will ignore the alternative evaluation and information search stage during their next buying and turn into a faithful consumer. The excellent service provided by Starbucks increased customers’ intention to repurchase. A coupon for a complimentary drink will be given to customer who are not satisfy with their drink and a that drink will be replaced on the spot. The excellent customer service provided by Starbucks will create a sense of importance towards the consumer. What is more, each Starbucks outlet provide comment cards for buyer to voice out their opinions and criticisms. A study shows that when customer’s complaint is resolved, customer will share their experience with another four to six persons (Perner, 2015).
Starbucks being the leading coffeehouse corporation globally. Starbucks has taken numerous vital steps, including customer service the quality control of the product served, sourcing, effective marketing communication and location sourcing to attract the customers (Starbucks, 2015).
Quality control of the product served
According to Starbucks (2015), the quality control is the practice where Starbucks guarantee the product follows a specific measurement of quality and fulfil the requirement of the consumers. The product’s flavour and ingredient is being explored and improved continuously to ensure that the customers are buying the best quality coffee. Starbucks gathers the coffee beans from the top bean trader in the world. Acting as the selling point to interest customers is the guarantee freshness of the beans. In order to ensure the freshness of the coffee, the coffee need to serve within an hour. The well designed and the high durability of the merchandise like the mugs and tumblers attract the customers to collect it.
Customer service & Effective marketing communications
Starbucks offer free coffee testing to persuade the potential customer to become an actual customer. This provides the consumer an image of the taste of each different flavour of the coffee. The customer service delivered by Starbucks is outstanding. Customer service act as a very important part as the customer’s satisfaction level is determined by it. The barista of Starbucks address their consumers warmly by name is one of the customer service delivered. Besides, customers are greeted with a friendly spirit and genuine smile by the barista. Customers now will feel respected and appreciated which will lead to brand. Repeat sales will be generated. Once the consumers are satisfied with the service delivered, they will perform the ‘word-of-mouth’ strategy. This approach is effective for the reason that responses from the present customers are among the effective marketing communications (Starbucks, 2015).
According to Statista (2015), the location of Starbucks also acts as a robust approach. The accessibility of the coffee is better now. Statistic indicates that the number of Starbucks outlets globally from 2003 to 2014 have increase from 19,767 to 21,366 stores shows that Starbucks has successfully turn into the main coffee corporation in the world. The high accessibility leads to a higher demand. Consumers will be able to get the drinks from many places like colleges, drive-through stations and even shopping malls. On the other hand, Starbucks’ ambient is unique and special that will be recognised by consumers. An invitation to a welcoming familiar place is formed when the interior design of each outlet is generally uniformed. It also shows the renowned attractiveness of the company. The aroma within the coffee bar stimulates the purchasing of coffee by the visitors. This will invite more future consumers since the potential customers visit the caf?? and will want to experience the taste of the coffee.
Starbucks seized the opportunity of its brilliance in sourcing. In order to guarantee the quality of the beans, the firm links coffee bean planters and suppliers globally. Beans from different region are collected to accommodate the different customer’s preferences. Starbucks is acting as the meeting point where they collect all flavour to fulfil the coffee fanatics. Latin America, Africa, and Asia- Pacific are three regions where Starbucks source their coffee. Starbucks also offers local planters resources to support in depressing manufacture costs and to increase coffee quality. The production of premium coffee will be greater than before (Starbucks, 2015).
According to O’Farrell (2015), Starbucks segment its market based on demographic and psychographic segmentation. Segmenting the market based on the income level is known as demographic segmentation. Middle high income group of consumers are targeted by Starbucks to attain larger market share. In general, consumers with a lower income will not be buying Starbucks’ coffee. Starbucks set a price for people with a higher level of income that will be able to pay for a higher price of coffee. Moreover, customers are segmented based on the age group by Starbucks. Students and working adults hold the largest market share in terms of Starbucks customers because it is the place for them to hang out either with colleagues or friends. In addition, these group of people are willing to use the money to relish their life in a better atmosphere.
In relations to psychographic segmentation, Starbucks segment its market based on consumer’s lifestyle. Higher income college or university students are targeted by Starbucks to obtain a higher market share. College students will always hang out at Starbucks because of the suiting and comfortable environment that is suitable for studying, group discussion or even dating. Students who are capable to pay for Starbucks coffee everyday will have a superior image in term of individual status. Another type of lifestyle that Starbucks targeted is on the working adults who love to hold corporate meeting with partners and clients. Corporate individuals have a tendency to have meeting with their clients in Starbucks because of the status and image of portrayed by Starbucks which is a high class trademark in the business. Thus, everyone including the non-coffee drinkers will be able to enjoy Starbucks coffee shop (Natmar, 2011).
The lifestyle of people have changed due to the growth of the Starbucks brand. Starbucks introduced this new trend to those people who previously never a big fan of luxury coffee. Most people would just go for a local coffee shop or just brew their own coffee. The introducing of Starbucks produced a massive variation to the buyer’s preference. A daily routine has been developed for the coffee fanatic to purchase a cup of coffee to start off their day. Drive-through stores which enable consumers to buy without getting down the car were introduced by Starbucks. Customers who are working are rushing for time, drive-through will help these people to save time looking for parking and queuing at the counter. The advancement of technology triggered the users of smart phone to increase. Starbucks apps for mobile was introduced by Starbucks where consumers can now make payment for order, win and check for incentive, informed at whatever time when there is promotion and to detect the closest store. The Starbucks card can top up by customers and can be used during their purchase without the need to carry cash. The app has health informations of the products. Instagram and We chat are social network sites that have a significant role in altering the buying process. The new promotions and offers will be post on these sites which will notify the customers. Customers will have make a different decision once the reviews are read.