As we celebrate the summer retail extravaganza that was Prime Day, the most impressive feat is that it is an event fully created and owned by Amazon. The eCommerce giant was able to drive sales without needing any help from the traditional calendar.
Yet, for all of Amazon’s deserved recognition, there is another brand that has already shown the path to creating sales boosts out of seemingly thin air - Starbucks.
Whether it be Reusable Cup Day or a December Happy Hour, the barista brand has mastered the process of engineering excitement and traffic boosts. So when they announced their Tye-Dye Frappuccino, the real question was if the technicolor drink could generate a spike yet again.
Looking back on nationwide Starbucks traffic from June 2018 through July 16th of 2019 shows a week that drove a strong performance. Friday, July 12th, 2019 saw visits that were 14.3% above the baseline for the period and visits on Saturday the 13th that were 16.0% above.
While Tye-Dye’s weekend did not yield the huge spikes of Reusable Cup Day or the December Happy Hour they did drive an 8.9% increase on the combined Friday and Saturday visits compared to the same weekend a year before. And this is a crucial point, because one of the most important benefits of ‘events’ like these is the ability to drum up interest in relatively quiet periods.
Another key element for analyzing the success of the week is to show the impact of the full period. While the summer drove lower visit numbers in 2018, Tye-Dye Frappuccino week saw visits that were 3.9% above the baseline for weekly traffic. This is especially strong considering the same week in 2018 saw visits that were 5.9% below the baseline for the period.
Beyond just trying to generate excitement, the brand was trying to create interest in a period where there is normally a decline in visits.
Owning The Calendar
And herein lies the genius of Starbucks. The company looked at a summer period in 2018 that was below the standard for the rest of the year. Yet, instead of giving in to seasonality, they asked how they could generate a spike - and came up with a successful Tye-Dye Frappuccino campaign.
The ability to creatively approach the calendar with a plan that can accentuate positives into even higher peaks while improving on low periods is the mark of an innovative retail giant. For all of the negative talk surrounding brick and mortar businesses, there are still businesses that are identifying ways to drive visits to their stores. And none do it better and more consistently than Starbucks.