After two years of a global pandemic, quite a few retail businesses show their weaknesses. As Warren Buffet famously said, you find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out. Selling coffee is one of these markets that is heavily shaken.
After more than ten years of trying to find a market and then realizing they could be a luxury moment for everyone, Nespresso for a while, was quite successful. But during the Pod War of the 2000s, where they tried to defend their IP more than their core values, they started to spin in a downward spiral. And whereas very few could have competed with Nespresso on "luxury," everyone was eventually able to make pods.
If you lose sight of the problem you critically solve in the market and the value you add to it, anyone can enter and compete with your own product.
Lesson learned? Not so much. Starbucks as we speak, is falling into the same trap. After years (decades ?) of hyper-growth and laser focus on their value (being a third place between work and home), they've lost sight of the space they were filling in our cities. I guess that the perspective of selling $15 lattes might get to your head at some point.
The symptom of this lack of focus is easy to spot. Starbucks eventually stopped reinforcing in new ways how to be a safe and relaxing haven in your daily commute or travels and tried to push in so many directions that you can't understand their core value anymore...
I'll admit I didn't do much research on this, but I'd bet that behind the scene, we had a dramatic change in the management team and some financial, "rational" decision-making behind the wheel. Usually? A recipe for disaster. One that leaves the door open to anyone with a fresh eye on the market:
Meanwhile, other global leaders heavily depending on consumers not staying home for two years, which were also hit badly by the pandemic, did regroup fiercely on their core values and are now coming back kicking.
Yes, we'll have to talk about Airbnb soon 😎