Not only does Starbucks go through mounds of coffee beans to satiate its raving fans, but they also have mounds of data that they leverage in many ways to improve the customer experience and their business. With 90 million transactions a week in 25,000 stores worldwide the coffee giant is in many ways on the cutting edge of using big data and artificial intelligence to help direct marketing, sales and business decisions
Starbucks Rewards and Mobile App
When Starbucks launched its rewards program and mobile app, they dramatically increased the data they collected and could use to get to know their customers and extract info about purchasing habits. The mobile app has more than 17 million and the reward program has 13 million active users. These users alone create an overwhelming amount of data about what, where and when they buy coffee and complementary products that can be overlaid on other data including weather, holidays and special promotions. Here are just some of the ways that Starbucks uses the data it collects.
Personalizing the Starbucks experience
Members of the rewards program and mobile app authorize Starbucks to gather a lot of info about their coffee-buying habits from their preferred drinks to what time of day they’re usually ordering. So, even when people visit a “new” Starbucks location, that store’s point-of-sale system is able to identify the customer through their smartphone and give the barista their preferred order. In addition, based on ordering preferences, the app will suggest new products (and treats) customers might be interested in trying. This intel is driven by the company’s digital flywheel program, a cloud-based artificial intelligence engine that’s able to recommend food and drink items to customers who didn’t even know, yet, they wanted to try something new. It’s so sophisticated that the recommendations will change based on what makes the most sense according to the day’s weather, if it’s a holiday or a weekday, and what location you’re at.
Targeted and personalized marketing
The same intel that helps Starbucks suggest new products for to try also helps the company send personalized offers and discounts that go far beyond a special birthday discount. Additionally, a customized email goes out to any customer who hasn’t visited a Starbucks recently with enticing offers—built from that individual’s purchase history—to re-engage them.