The elements that render Starbucks a feared competitor in the current fragmented wine marketplace are as follows?
- Its demonstrated brand-building capabilities
- Its market-moving potential, given its size and buying power
- Its in-place infrastructure, to include: prominently located stores; name recognition; centralized ordering; centralized information systems; common policies and procedures; and institutionalized training regime.
- The ability to cut across market segments; on-premises, retail
- Its potential to establish a "wine lingo" of its own that will have current players on the outside looking in
- Its potential to capture/create wine newbies.
Did consumers benefit when coffee went from 75 cents at the gas station to $5 at a Starbucks. Consumers seemed to think so, because they kept the cash registers ringing at neighborhood stores. Will we see this same type of cost-benefit tradeoff in Starbucks' wine marketing as we move forward? Most likely not because the floor for a glass of wine begins at the ceiling for a cup of Starbucks coffee. It is quite likely that Starbucks will be successful in this venture, however, because of the strengths that it can/will bring to bear on this problem. Independent wine retailers will have to study this problem carefully in order to develop relevant survival/"thrival" strategies.