Starbucks harnesses Web 2.0 for consumer feedback Coffee shop giant looks to customers for ideas

Plus, American Airlines gets into Facebook

US-- Ailing coffee giant Starbucks has turned to Web 2.0 in an attempt to gather ideas from customers.

The online community My Starbucks Idea has attracted thousands of suggestions, comments and votes since launching a week ago. “We’re here, we’re engaged, and we’re taking it seriously,” wrote chairman and CEO Howard Schultz last week.
The top idea – to introduce a punch card scheme for a free coffee every few purchases – has been marked as ‘under review’.
The number two idea of free wi-fi is marked as ‘coming soon’ – although a closer look reveals that it will stop being free after just two hours.

My Starbucks Idea is the latest initiative from a firm which saw its stock price plummet last year as sales stagnated. It announced last month that it would axe 600 jobs, and faced mockery for its decision to close all branches for an afternoon to teach staff how to make coffee.

• American Airlines is also harnessing Web 2.0, launching its own Facebook application as a marketing and research tool.

The Travel Bag application allows users of the social network site to share their travel experiences, write reviews and recommendations, and let friends know about their upcoming trips. It also links to the airline’s website so users can view flight information and make bookings.AA will be able to monitor users’ activities for research purposes, and target marketing directly to them based on their behaviour and preferences.
Facebook’s platform allows anyone to create applications to run on the site, and AA is the first airline to do so. Travel Bag is up against numerous similar apps that allow users to share and discuss travel experiences.

Author: Robert Bain - Research.

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