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Drive Sales & Customer Success Like Starbucks with Digital Media

By Troy Wilson
Drive Sales & Customer Success Like Starbucks with Digital Media Feature Image
5 minute read

Can a digital strategy help your business boost sales and create happier customers? You bet it can. A new quarterly report from Starbucks shows that digital media is the next sales frontier to conquer. Here’s how they did it and how your business can, too.

How Starbucks Was Able to Drive Sales Up 7% in One Quarter

Coffeehouse chain Starbucks saw their biggest quarter revenue ever for a “nonholiday” quarter this year. In Q1 of 2016, the chain was able to drive up sales at their US stores more than 7%. In part Starbucks was able to increase traffic leading to 3% more sales. But sales grew another nearly 5% from the larger ticket orders placed by happy customers.

As Business Insider notes, the chain owes its record sales quarter to an investment in digital media strategy. They’ve been able to reduce friction for the use of their mobile app with better UX which has also led to greater app loyalty and store traffic.

BI’s report on the company’s mobile app adoption confirm a digital strategy is behind the success.

  • The brand’s loyalty program membership has grown to 12 million members, a year-over-year increase of 16%.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 orders (24%) were paid for through Starbucks’ app in Q1, an increase of 9% from the previous quarter.
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the brand’s mobile app users are spending 3 times more than the average Starbucks customer.

How Your Business Can Drive Sales Like Starbucks

What Starbucks achieved is impressive, yes, but not impossible. You too can drive sales with your own digital media strategy. Whether your focus is on building a mobile app experience, serving customers through the mobile web, capturing leads with your desktop website, or pursuing an integrated approach, there are a few fundamentals to remember. Business News Daily pinned down a great list of what to focus on last fall:

Incentivize Customer Contact – Your customer could just read your website, or he could be incentivized to contact you through your website. Your preference should be obvious. Ask yourself what value or reward you can give your customer for submitting a quote request or picking up the phone and calling.

Coordinate Online and Offline – If your customer begins her journey online, how will you get her to continue with an offline sales process? These two funnels need to be connected and perfectly integrated. Map out this journey from online to offline.

Retool Print Ads – Your print ads aren’t dead. They still have value, but that value is best maximized by integrating your print campaigns into your digital campaigns. That way you can reach customers wherever they are in their buying process.

Measure and Discover What Works – Make sure that you are set up to measure your digital metrics. Otherwise, you won’t be able to pivot away from what’s falling flat and focus on what’s taking off. You may not even be able to tell! Focus on non-superficial indicators, like customer actions, conversions, and campaign ROI.

How Your Business Can Improve Customer Success Like Starbucks

Driving sales isn’t enough. As Starbucks found, it was a great mobile app that led to user loyalty and increased store traffic. Business News Daily points to more steps businesses can take to make their customers successful:

Optimize Your Web and Mobile Experience – Serve your customers on their terms, not yours. Make sure your web and mobile experiences run like a well-oiled machine. You may not need to ping your customer to tell them lattes are on sale down the street, but you can still use an automated trigger marketing product to stay top of mind.  

Unify Your Teams – Sales teams, marketing teams, and customer service teams need to all be on the same page. If you can tear down the silos that keep departments from talking to each other, you can improve your customer experience and drive more sales.

Use Your Loyalty Data – Starbucks collects data on each of its app users. It allows the company to strategize how to better satisfy the needs of particular customer demographics. Use your own loyalty data to do the same. How do you customers prefer to be contacted? What get them to the next stage of the funnel? Find the answers, then adjust your process to suit.

Employ Tactfulness – There’s a limit to how often you can interact with your customers before you become a nuisance. Err on the side of too few contacts than too many. Employing tact in how and when you deploy your digital campaigns will allow you to connect with customers without turning them off to your messaging.


It’s clear that for Starbucks, a strong digital strategy was the answer. You too can drive sales and improve customer success by focusing on digital media. Whether you start with incentivizing customer contact or unifying your teams, make sure you work towards better customer experiences to get the most from your sales.

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About Troy Wilson

Troy is the CEO and founder of Aged Lead Store. He has been in the lead generation industry for over two decades. His blog posts focus on how to refine your sales process and get the most out of your insurance leads, mortgage leads, and solar leads.

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