A Cup of Coffee and Apps: Pointers for a Malaysian Business

I am Nurulu, a Malaysian correspondent.
Despite all the commotion in Malaysia recently, I am here in Starbucks sipping my smooth cafe latte unperturbed.  Although the outside view is clouded by haze, here inside Starbucks the situation is still the same as before. What’s amazing however is not how I am unfazed by the haze situation, but instead how Starbucks seems unaffected by all of the commotion.

If we are talking about coffee and apps, I’m sure Java will come across our minds for many of us. However, a cup of real coffee and apps nowadays is not as bizarre as it would be on decades ago. Who would have thought that a coffee company would lead the mobile revolution? It is really ingenious for Starbucks to integrate mobile apps and marketing strategies together, while providing us the “third space” that all of us need. As someone who enjoys Starbucks, below are three key points that I love, and would continue loving, about Starbucks.

The Third Space

Starbucks intelligently invite their customers to stick around even after getting the beverages. The space provided is inviting and you will be tempted to sit even for just a short while. Starbucks provides to all of my desires, with many additional bonuses. Free Wifi!!  It’s a space where you can sit alone, enjoy a cup of coffee, and let our imaginations run wild!! There is always a time when suddenly I would like to have a private space, and home is not the best place for it. It is also not only privacy, Starbucks also provides a suitable place for discussions. Drinks and light food, a comfy Sofa, and a power plug to charge your laptop, are all you need to hold a casual group discussion or meeting.

Mobile Tracking Apps

The fact that I need both Starbucks’ loyalty cards and their apps is perhaps the only thing that I dislike, and want them to improve. Especially when I forget to bring my card, or having to search it among the cards in my purse, like finding a pair of socks in a bundle of cloth. Most Malaysians do not have a card holder. It’s troublesome. If they can fully digitise the process it would be better.

I love how we can get points from each purchase, and exchange them to get free coffee or merchandise. The Starbucks app allows us to track how many points we have, how many we have used. You can also easily seeaAll the promotions and vouchers on the apps. What’s more, you can also use the in-app maps to find the nearest store locations and navigate your way there.

Free Stuff and Merchandise

The vouchers for free food and drinks offered by the point system is a one of the reasons that make the customers feels rewarded for being a loyal consumer. It’s something that is not utilized by many other businesses. Nowadays, customers no longer shop blindly, they also thinks about the long term benefits. Especially among housewives, they will contemplate before deciding to buy a product. Malaysians are not shy on trying new things, but keeping them loyal to your brand is difficult to achieved. Starbucks’ merchandise are in good quality, attractive and boasts creativity.

One last important thing about the apps is to integrate it with social network apps such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Apps without a Facebook Page or YouTube ad will likely go unpublicised, though the younger Malaysian generation prefer WeChat over Facebook. Almost all of them own a Facebook account, and will definitely use it at least once a month to update their statues, while the 1990’s and above generations prefer Facebook as they are used to it, and feel familiar with the apps.


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