Starbucks, Apple and Yahoo announced a new and exciting partnership this summer, which will surely benefit the consumer. The three companies are partnering to provide Starbucks customers free digital content in the form of e-books, music and movies. Starbucks profits have been suffering due in part to the soft economy as well as competitors such as McDonald’s offering free Wi-Fi and high end coffee.
This past July, Starbucks began offering it’s customers free Wi-Fi, whereas in the past only AT&T internet customers and iPhone owners took advantage of the service for free while everyone else had to pay or have an AT&T subscription. Yahoo has now launched a portal for users to log into while at the stores and a welcome page will connect customers with related content, in the form of free books, news, music and movies. Most of this content will only be available while in the store itself, and Starbucks will receive a percentage of any sales made for extended content. According to studies from both Yahoo and Starbucks, consumers prefer short bite sized pieces of information while visiting the store, so that’s how the content will be marketed.
So how does Apple fit into this grand plan? If you remember, Apple and Starbucks had a little legal issue with the distribution of the Starbucks Free Song of the week music cards. Customers had to pick up a card from the store which contained a code to download the free song. With the new system Starbucks customers will be able to download the free song of the week directly through iTunes while at the store. It has yet to be announced when these services will go live in stores.
It remains to be seen how customers will take to this new distribution system and if the free content will drive customers back to the high end coffee shops. The economic downturn has affected all of us in different ways, but maybe some good will come out of it for consumers in the end. It looks as though companies are realizing a little extra added value an appreciative attitude goes a long way.