Note: I'm starting a new series called Random Business Ideas (RBI) to keep track of thoughts that come to mind. These are all impromptu and undeveloped; feel free to critic, comment, or share your ideas!
RBI #1: Starbucks merchandising
Starbucks made my day today - my favorite barista on 36th/Madison handed me a card, telling me I'm one of their best customers and enclosed a free 12oz drink (which I'm guessing translates to a "Tall"?). After all, I go there religiously - maybe once every 2 days. When my branch was under renovation for a week, I walked 5 blocks to the next branch; just to get my dose of skim mocha. Brand loyalty doesn't get better than this...
Yet, how come they can't come out with better merchandises? With the following Starbucks has, trademark licensing should be a huge business - yes, the CD's are doing well, but what about mugs, thermos, coasters... or even a starbucks barista game or toy? Every morning, I wonder why the collection is so dull and unoriginal... Aside from trademark merchandising, with over 9000 locations worldwide, Starbucks is a retail powerhouse - what about cross-promotional campaigns?
Lastly, I'd personally like to see Dilbert strips on my starbucks cup (or sleeve). That'd really make my day.