Sometimes, completely reimagining your company’s presentation can create some brilliant new profit avenues and an improved customer experience.  Starbucks has begun doing that.  Beth Kowitt explains the idea’s beginning (“Coffee Shop, Contained” Fortune, May 20, 2013, p. 24):

In 2008 Starbucks’ chief creative officer, Arthur Rubinfeld, was asked to reimagine its retail spaces, the first major overhaul since 2003. . . . [Using repurposed shipping containers], some 60% of all new U.S. stores that Starbucks (No. 208 on the Fortune 500) has planned for the next five years will be drive-throughs.

Because shipping containers are relatively small compared to traditional retail space, the plan promises to enlarge the company’s customer reach significantly:

At just about 380 square feet, the micros will be among the smallest Starbucks sites in existence.  The tiny footprint lets the company enter high-traffic locations previously out of reach.

The first component of this reimagining I like is the very concept of reusing old shipping containers for a different purpose.  That utility, versatility, and creativity say much about the energy at Starbucks.  That alone will get some people’s attention.

The second component I like is the innovative approach to enhancing the company’s footprint.  The company found a way to put stores in unlikely or unexpected spots to drive revenue and strengthen the brand.  That must have been a fun brainstorming session!

Every successful businessperson knows you can never just relax with your coffee.  You must constantly be advertising, marketing, assessing, researching, developing, strategizing, and executing.  The coffee might be great, but there is much more to bring to the table.  Starbucks is doing that in some delightfully surprising ways.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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