Three weeks ahead of Black Friday, Starbucks Coffee found itself with its own unique doorbuster on its hands. The coffeehouse giant was offering a free, reusable cup with cheerful holiday designs featuring the Starbucks logo to any customer who came in on Friday, Nov. 2 and ordered one of Starbucks’ special seasonal coffee drinks.
The result? A whopping 41% spike in foot traffic over the average Friday. There was even an apparent echo effect: on Saturday, Nov. 3, the day after the one-day offer, foot traffic was 16% greater than the average Saturday.
Market researchers interested in gaining insights into coffeehouse chains and quick-serve restaurants can see the spike in foot traffic for themselves in chart form on MFour’s Path-2-Purchase® Platform. Plug in “Starbucks” on the free Path-2-Purchase tracking tool, and you’ll see the big surge that occurred on Nov. 2-3, and how visits on the day of the cup giveaway compared to every other day in the preceding three months.
Path-2-Purchase is unique in its ability to track validated, representative U.S. consumers’ visits to 12.5 million locations, including all of the top 1,000 retail and restaurant chains. On the technology side it’s powered by advanced GPS location technology and MFour’s unrivaled Surveys On The Go® (SOTG) mobile research app. On the people side, SOTG gives researchers the ability to connect with the 2.5 million first-party consumers who have downloaded the app.
SOTG users give double opt-in consent to have their movements tracked using their smartphones’ GPS features, in exchange for opportunities to receive location-specific surveys that earn them cash rewards. It’s these demographically profiled consumers’ engagement with SOTG that makes it possible for marketers and market researchers to see where they go, when and how often – and to gain otherwise unobtainable insights into events such as the Starbucks cup giveaway.
Tracking is only a means to the most productive research end: connecting with the consumers you’ve tracked to survey them about the experiences they’ve had at any stop along their paths to purchase. For example, a researcher interested in the competition in coffee could use Path-2-Purchase data to identify validated Starbucks customers and send them surveys. You also could overlay Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts locations to compare visitation and identify important consumer segments. Segments might include coffee-agnostics who go to both Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, or loyalists who are customers of one but never the other.
Once you've identified your segments, you can survey those consumers to understand the all-import “why” behind their coffee buy.
We know there's no shortage of GPS visitation tracking providers, but all the rest are only capable of counting footprints and spitting out numbers. The location data they give you ends there, leaving the actual consumers who've left those footprints all but invisible.
But when you conduct location-based mobile research using Surveys On The Go, the validated, first-party consumers you track are profiled, real and reachable, so you can connect with them for the "why" behind the buy.
As it turned out, Dunkin’ Donuts managed to hold its own during Starbucks’ big Friday cup giveaway: nationwide, its traffic fell just 1% below the Friday average.
In fact, Starbucks’ cup giveaway actually turned out to be a little too successful. The Today Show reported on its website that supplies quickly ran out at some locations, leaving customers disappointed.
If you’re so inclined, we can identify and put you in touch with members of the SOTG consumer panel who went to a Starbucks on Nov. 2 (or on any other day). Ask them about their experiences with the special giveaway. Are they in love with their free cups? Are they miffed because the Starbucks they went to had run out? Did they try one of the special holiday brews? Was it delish or just so-so? And how did the cup giveaway impact their overall satisfaction with the Starbucks brand?
When it comes to coffee, or anything else in the consumer realm, Path-2-Purchase® Platform gives you a heaping, caffeinated cup of quick-turnaround research you can’t accomplish anywhere else.