Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I was in a coffee shop the other day.

Drinking coffee.

I chose cappuccino.

Anyway I remembered a time when I first moved to London and I watched an older couple walk into Starbucks.
"What can I get you" said the helpful person
"Cofffee" said the old couple.

Cue blank looks all round.

Anyway, I saw a stat the other day which said you can order 2400 types of coffee in Starbucks. And another which said that in London their are 300 starbucks within 15 minutes (or something similar - you get the idea).

And it occurs to me that, how do things which confuse everyone on their first visit become so successful.

I've always believed that customers need brands to take the choice out of choosing. Make it easy. Coffee shops make it complicated.

I suppose there's huge customer need been created. And all coffee shops serve the same level of complexity. So customers settle into acceptance of this and understand the language. So customers get complexity immunity early on in their starbucks life.

I guess also that there's a decision making tree at play here. One about coffee or tea or fruit juice. Then one about latte or cappuccino or americano. Then one about exra flavours - which you're never going to do at first... And so on with more decisions as you get more confident. Then you go back and order the same thing every time.

I like that decision tree idea.

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