Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Starbucks Expands Alibaba Partnership Alibaba

When the CEO of a ‘Chain Restaurant’ spent 16 years working at Microsoft you can bet that a digital transformation is about to take place according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Starbucks continues to push the boundaries in digital innovation with the launch of its first-of-its-kind virtual Starbucks store in China.  Let’s be clear this is “ground-breaking digital collaboration with Alibaba Group unlocks new levels of engagement unseen in the marketplace today with customers” according to the Starbucks press release. So, just what does that mean?
According to Starbucks “By transcending the traditional limitations of a single-app, to provide customers a unified one-stop Starbucks digital experience across the Starbucks app and customer-facing mobile apps within the Alibaba ecosystem, including Taobao, Tmall and Alipay. “ Our Grocerant Guru® said it makes Starbucks a GLOBAL DIGITAL PLAYER.  That is very important for the brand, customer relevance, and product sales according to Johnson. The partnership creates a platform for new electricity edifying the customer relationship.
New partnerships can drive sales in foodservice today as your brand is searching for the new electricity to help drive the brand forward. So, just what is your brands new electricity? According to Johnson, “Brand relevance is in part driven with innovation in new food products in combination with new avenues of distribution all of which are the platform for the new electricity.”
Johnson stated “that in my minds-eye the new electricity must be very efficient for the supply and includes such things as fresh foods, developing brands, unique urban clothing, grocerant positioning, Fresh food messaging, autonomous delivery, cashier-less retail, plates, glasses, cash-less payments, digital hand-held marketing.
All retailers to survive the next generation of retail must embrace the artificial intelligence revolution while simultaneously embracing fresh food that is portable, fresh, with differentiation that is familiar not different
Molly Liu, vice-president, Digital Venture, Starbucks China stated “For 20 years, we listened intently to the aspirational lifestyle needs of our customers and consistently challenged the status quo to elevate their mobile Starbucks digital experiences,”  “Leveraging the strengths of our transformative strategic partnership with Alibaba Group, this new milestone in the Starbucks digital strategy will significantly fuel our capabilities to provide an even more personalized and enticing one-touch digital experience for the Chinese consumer, while extending the accessibility of our digital innovations into the everyday lifestyle rituals of our customers, regardless of time or place.” Now that said remember this is the food and beverage business.
Success does leave clues and no mater how important we think technology is all sales come are driven by the food and beverage themselves.  New technology can not replace the food, flavor, or the freshness of the food and beverages sold.
 Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing ideations look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Interested in learning how can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization?  Email us at: or visit: for more information.

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