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Regular readers of this blog have probably figured out that I’m not all that impressed with Starbucks, especially when compared to local coffee shops that get it (much less the ones that don’t burn their beans). This time, I actually have a kind word for the corporate coffee monolith.

Cup of coffee [ without edition ] photo credit: Al- Fassam [ Online! 😀 ]

The news has been full of talking heads twittering and blogging about the new Starbucks website that encourages their customers to provide ideas, feedback etc.

It’s called, and is run on‘s CRM/sales platform.

If you Google around, you’ll find all sorts of bile about the stupidity of this decision, how it’s “stale”, or it’s a ploy, and so on.

While I think Starbucks has done a lot of dumb things, I think it’s one of the few smart things the coffee giant has done lately.

Encouraging your customers to provide you with ideas on how you can improve your business – anonymously (rather important).

Not only does Starbucks get some value from it by virtue of not being so close to their business that they can’t see the forest for the trees, but it great for their customers as well.

Why? Because the non-jaded among us get to feel some ownership of Starbucks via their ideas and suggestions.

You can do the very same thing tomorrow via a WordPress (or whatever) blog. For almost nothing, almost instantly. In an hour, I can have a new domain name, web hosting, a copy of WordPress with a nice looking theme in production.

What are you waiting for? Or don’t you have an hour today? Why is that?

I promised you a tip, didn’t I?

If you own a retail store, a coffee shop, a cafe, a donut shop/bakery, or any business that is even similar to Starbucks – shouldn’t you be monitoring the Starbucks idea list for ideas to implement in your shop? Likewise, shouldn’t you be watching the feedback that people give to the MyStarbucksIdeas that others suggest?

There’s just nothing like getting a free gift basket of low-hanging fruit from your biggest competitor:)

Other posts on this topic:

Starbucks “Gets” Social Marketing
Starbucks feedback is good idea
Starbucks picking up buzz from crowdsourcing
Starbucks is on the right idea