Starbucks Coffee Company, Seattle, extended coffee consciousness onto the Internet with the launch last week of its long-anticipated Starbucks.com site. The site features not only information about Starbucks coffee and related products, but about the company and its community activities and coffee production in general.
Interactive features include a Coffee Taste Matcher to help consumers figure out what coffees they might like, a Gift Matcher which includes customized email reminders of special days and a Store Finder.
The extensive 250-page site took six months to produce. Starbucks' in-house team worked with Organic, San Francisco, on both creative and development.
"We brought in the expertise to translate the brand online appropriately and let the Starbucks team be the stewards of the brand," said Sara Ortloff, Organic creative director. "The creative framework we used was, 'the journey and the destination.' We wanted the Web experience to mirror the experience you have when you go into a store, where you have the destination of buying some coffee, but you're also taking some time out from your day." Cross linking between content areas was designed to encourage less linear navigation.
Though the company's launch of an e-commerce Web site may seem late to some, Heidi Wells, Internet project manager, points out that her company has had a presence, including e-commerce, on America Online, for the past three years.
"We've been out there understanding what our customers want, understanding data from AOL. Now is the right time for e-commerce," she said.
Wells said her company has an aggressive schedule for further site development, and that the site will be considerably renewed by the holiday season. She had no estimates for online revenue. "We just don't know," she said. "But $3 billion are supposed to be spent by U.S. consumers on the Web this year, and we're hoping to get a chunk of it."
Will the Web site cannibalize the physical stores? Not until someone figures out how to get a double non-fat latte through an ISDN line.