There is an interesting article that comes from an Australian university examining the rise and fall of Starbucks in that country. This article is one that should be read by anyone already in business and looking to expand into new markets. It’s also worth reading for any brick and mortar business that is considering adding an online store. While we can sing the praises of Facebook, Twitter and the many other opportunities there are for marketing a business both online and offline, a business’ success still comes back to the basics.
In Starbucks’ case, they failed to undertake the most important element of any major business move – market research. The end result is a business that tried to push an expensive coffee into a very strong coffee market, and that market basically rejected the move. Starbucks also misread the market. When they first arrived, like all curious people, Australians flocked to their stores to see what all the “hype” was about – they left very disappointed and failed to return.
For any business, market research is highly important. For new businesses, it’s a must. You have to be able to judge the mood of your potential customers, and of your competitors. Developing an online presence is no different, you have to develop an online strategy that can help steer your business to success. Social media sites like Facebook can be useful for market research and eventually helping you develop your brand.
To be successful, you have to have the right product at the right price targeting the right people in the right places – that’s the basics of a successful business. Market research will help you identify many of those areas, however, it’s then your decisions, and your marketing that will ultimately determine your success. The one important lesson to be learned from the Starbucks experience in Australia is to never assume anything – always do your market research.