Starbucks Drinker, the Mother Ship Hears You

At its annual meeting today, Starbucks revealed plans for the future. The biggest (and possibly worst) is a social-networking site, My Starbucks Ideas, that “enables customers to play a role in shaping the company’s future.” We checked it out, and it looks like a virtual suggestion box to us. What’s truly astounding is that many of the “suggestions” posted there yesterday were announced as new initiatives by the company today. Talk about being heard! The new Starbucks Card Rewards program? Just yesterday, a customer mentioned something about “Offer[ing] customers a free drink, after purchasing a set number of drinks.” Free Wi-Fi Internet? Registered cardholders can log in free for two hours a day. “I miss the smell of coffee,” one poster mused yesterday. Not anymore, says Starbucks! “All Starbucks company-operated stores in the U.S. will further elevate the customer experience when they begin to scoop and grind the beans they use for brewed coffee.” The one suggestion Starbucks customers didn’t have was for the company to buy Clover, maker of a single-cup drip brewer that costs a cool $11,000 apiece. We can’t wait for the hard-core posters over at Jim Romenesko’s Starbucks Gossip site to tear into this one.

Starbucks Unveils New Strategic Initiatives to Transform and Innovate the Customer Experience [Dow Jones]