Customer desires in disguise: My Starbucks Idea

11 06 2008

I recently stumbled upon “My Starbucks Idea“, which I think is a pretty smart move by Starbucks to 1) integrate their customers knowledge into the innovation process and 2) learn more about their customers needs and desires.

Customers can post their ideas, have them rated, discuss them, and receive updates on the status of their ideas (“Ideas in Action”). With “My Starbucks Idea”, Starbucks not only receives access to a large set of users expectations that can be analyzed and studied, but also some preliminary relevance ratings.

There are some great examples of things that customers want, but Starbucks does not yet adequately support, such as:

You could easily think of similar websites for other products, such as cars, fast food restaurants, holiday trips or others. I am sort of surprised to see that Starbucks focuses on ideas only, rather than the more general goals and desires of their customers (e.g. how many of Starbucks customers have an interest in meditation? and would they buy meditation products in a coffee shop?).

What is certainly interesting about the Starbucks site is that there is no monetary reward for customers to contribute (not even free coffee!).