Starbucks fans are fiercely loyal. For people whose daily routines include stopping at their local Starbucks, life just wasn't the same during the early months of the COVID pandemic. But store closures, induced by state safety precautions, didn't prevent regular customers from buying Starbucks branded merchandise online in huge numbers.
However, there's a twist: these staunch customers were not buying branded merch directly from Starbucks - Starbucks doesn’t have an online store platform. Die-hard fans are buying branded merch from third-party online resellers like Poshmark and OfferUp.
Starting with a shift to in-store only branded merch sales in 2017, followed by cutting their inventory of branded merch by 30%, Starbucks has drastically scaled back its merchandising game. Even with the nationwide reopening of stores during the summer months, there's no question the company is missing out on a significant amount of potential revenue from product sales.
Between March and the end of May, orders of Starbucks products on Poshmark increased over 100%, according to CNN. Price gougers showed no shame in increasing mark ups by more than $65, which is par for the course when it comes to hype re-sale. The re-sale market in particular is based on hype and the scarcity of unused products.
“People have been making their coffee at home and pouring it into their favorite Starbucks cups, or taking their Starbucks mugs to their Zoom meetings or now, virtual coffee meets,” Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra observed. For the avid Starbucks drinker, whose day starts with or revolves around a Starbucks cup in hand, replicating that experience is quintessential.
Obviously when Starbucks shifted away from e-commerce, it didn’t foresee a global pandemic coming. But with so many companies reducing brick-and-mortar sales or opting for online sales only, it’s a puzzling choice. The pandemic is helping to accentuate this gaffe. A Starbucks spokesperson informed CNN that the company is aware of the re-sale demand for its branded products existing, but wouldn’t expound.
It’s not too late for Starbucks (or your company!) to capitalize on the money to be made by selling online. If you're interested in setting up an e-commerce store, click here to connect with us today.