Customer ExperienceCustomer Journey MappingDigitalDigital StrategyDigital Transformation

Case Study: Starbucks’ Success Elevating Customer Experience with Customer Journey Mapping

Customers Journey Mapping to Deliver Great Customers Experiences

Starbucks, the world-renowned coffee company, is known for its exceptional customer experience and innovative offerings. To stay ahead in the competitive coffee industry and maintain its reputation, Starbucks has consistently prioritized understanding its customers and their needs. One key strategy that Starbucks has used to achieve this is customer journey mapping.

Customer Journey Mapping Strategy

Starbucks embarked on a comprehensive customer journey mapping initiative, aiming to identify pain points in its customers’ experiences and develop solutions to address these issues. The company engaged in a cross-functional approach, involving teams from various departments such as marketing, store operations, and product development, to ensure a holistic understanding of the customer journey.

Understanding the Customer Journey

Starbucks conducted extensive research to gain insights into its customers’ interactions with the brand, both online and offline. The company collected data through customer interviews, surveys, and observations, as well as leveraging digital analytics and transactional data. This information was used to create detailed customer journey maps, highlighting key touchpoints, emotional states, and pain points.

Identifying Pain Points and Opportunities

The customer journey maps revealed several areas where Starbucks could improve its customer experience. Some notable pain points included long wait times, inconsistent product quality, and challenges in navigating the rewards program. The company also identified opportunities to enhance the in-store experience, such as incorporating digital technologies and personalizing customer interactions.

Developing a Customer Experience Roadmap

Armed with these insights, Starbucks developed a customer experience roadmap that outlined the strategic initiatives and improvements needed to address the identified pain points and capitalize on opportunities. Some of the successful implementations based on the roadmap include:

  1. Mobile Order & Pay: To reduce wait times and streamline the ordering process, Starbucks introduced the Mobile Order & Pay feature in its app. This allowed customers to place orders in advance and pick up their drinks without waiting in line, significantly enhancing the overall customer experience.
  2. Personalized Rewards: Starbucks revamped its rewards program to make it more accessible and user-friendly, tailoring offers and promotions based on customers’ preferences and purchasing habits. This personalized approach encouraged customer loyalty and increased engagement with the brand.
  3. Consistent Quality Standards: Starbucks invested in employee training and quality control measures to ensure consistent product quality across all locations. This focus on excellence helped reinforce the brand’s reputation for offering high-quality coffee and beverages.
  4. Digital Integration: Starbucks introduced digital touchpoints in its stores, such as interactive menu boards and mobile payment options, to create a seamless and engaging customer experience. These innovations helped bridge the gap between the online and offline customer journey.

The company’s attention to the entire journey has been a key factor in the development of the premium coffee category.

According to PeopleMetrics, Starbucks has been able to simplify and operationalize Customer Journey Mapping which has helped them unlock the intersection of convenience and connection by introducing enhancements to the customer experience across retail and digital that meet customers wherever they are, expanding the Third Place experience beyond the physical store.

Initiatives that have been uncovered through journey mapping exercises:

Starbucks is investing in its partners, creating personalized experiences for customers, and innovating its digital and retail strategy.

Investing in Partner Success

Starbucks is placing its partners at the core of its Reinvention plan. The company believes that investing in its partner base is key to delivering high-quality customer experiences, uplifting brand affinity and customer loyalty, and increasing value back to partners through wages, benefits, programming, and tools for continued personal growth. In fiscal 2023, Starbucks has identified a number of near-term solutions that will be implemented to ensure a thriving partner experience:

Wage and Recognition Innovation:

Starbucks is helping partners by giving them the hours they need, expanding digital tipping, and incorporating other opportunities to increase overall pay. The company is committed to paying partners competitively and has raised its starting wage in the U.S. to $15 per hour.

New Well-being Benefits:

Starbucks is offering enhanced sick pay, new savings and student loan management benefits, and additional mental health support to its partners.

Personalized Career Mobility:

Starbucks is introducing a new partner app and the development of personalized career paths to enable its partners to achieve their career goals.

Investments in Store Managers:

Starbucks is providing new leadership trainings, reinventing scheduling and decision-making tools, and creating career journey mapping to improve store manager retention and empower them to focus on core functions of the job that increase satisfaction and overall performance of their store partners.

These investments are aimed at empowering Starbucks partners to thrive at work, thrive as individuals, and thrive together. Stores managed by partners with over three years of tenure have 13% greater weekly sales and higher customer satisfaction, making it clear that investing in partner success is a win-win for both partners and the company.

Creating Personalized Experiences for Customers

Starbucks is committed to unlocking the intersection of convenience and connection by introducing enhancements to the customer experience across retail and digital that meet customers wherever they are, expanding the Third Place experience beyond the physical store. The company is investing in purpose-built store concepts, delivering beverage innovation, and expanding effortless digital convenience to create personalized experiences for its customers.

Investing in Purpose-built Store Concepts:

Starbucks is reimagining the store environment by introducing purpose-built store concepts that meet customers wherever and whenever they want and improve the partner experience. The company is investing an incremental $450M in the existing U.S. store base in fiscal year 2023 with continued investment in fiscal 2024 and 2025. Starbucks expects these investments will create efficiencies, unlock capacity for partners, and enable increased throughput to support increasing customer demand.

Delivering Beverage Innovation:

To improve partner and customer experiences, Starbucks has developed the Siren System, a proprietary new equipment innovation designed to meet the growing demand for customization of hot and cold beverages and warm foods. As part of the Siren System, Starbucks has redesigned its cold beverage station, which significantly reduces the time and number of steps to make cold beverages, unlocking productivity gains and ultimately freeing up time for partners to connect with customers.

In addition, Starbucks is developing a new way of extracting cold coffee and espresso with the Cold Pressed Cold Brew system. This new, proprietary technology delivers cold press coffee in a matter of seconds and in fewer than four steps, a step-change improvement when compared to today’s cold brew which is steeped for 20 hours and takes more than 20 steps to make. The Cold Pressed Cold Brew will begin testing in stores in fiscal 2023.

Expanding effortless digital convenience

Starbucks’ Reinvention Plan aims to create a seamless and personalized experience for customers, making it easier for them to get their favorite Starbucks beverage when and where they want. The company has recognized the increasing importance of digital convenience in providing a better customer experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need for contactless ordering and payment options. Starbucks has responded by investing in and expanding its digital offerings, such as its mobile ordering platform, Starbucks Rewards program, and Starbucks Delivers.

Growing Starbucks Delivers program with DoorDash and UberEats

One of Starbucks’ major initiatives for expanding digital convenience is growing its Starbucks Delivers program. The company has partnered with DoorDash to expand the program to a national scale alongside UberEats in fiscal 2023. This partnership aims to improve delivery efficiency, expand delivery areas, and offer more delivery options to customers. Starbucks Delivers is expected to be available in over 10,000 stores across the United States by the end of 2022.

Starbucks Rewards program with Starbucks Odyssey

Starbucks is also evolving its Starbucks Rewards program with Starbucks Odyssey, a Web3-enabled experience that will bridge the physical and digital customer experience. Starbucks Odyssey aims to unlock a new generation of experiential benefits for customers. Through Starbucks Odyssey, customers will be able to earn and redeem rewards, access exclusive content, and become part of a digital community built on human connection. Starbucks plans to roll out Starbucks Odyssey to all customers in the United States and Canada by the end of 2022.

The CDO TIMES Bottom Line

Starbucks’ successful application of customer journey mapping demonstrates the value of understanding customers’ experiences for customers, partners and employees and using these insights to drive improvements and innovation. By identifying pain points and opportunities in the customer journey, Starbucks was able to develop a customer experience roadmap that addressed these issues and reinforced its position as a leader in the coffee industry.

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Carsten Krause

As the CDO of The CDO TIMES I am dedicated delivering actionable insights to our readers, explore current and future trends that are relevant to leaders and organizations undertaking digital transformation efforts. Besides writing about these topics we also help organizations make sense of all of the puzzle pieces and deliver actionable roadmaps and capabilities to stay future proof leveraging technology. Contact us at: to get in touch.

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