No time limits. No purchase necessary. Free Internet to customers at all Starbucks stores nationally beginning July 1.
Wonder what influenced their decision?! Could it be the growing number of food retailers offering free wireless to customers such as Panera Bread, McDonald’s, Denny’s, and Caribou Coffee? We think so.
Starbucks has been slow to offer free wireless though they were a first in providing wireless access to patrons through T-Mobile data plans and three years ago adding AT&T but with limited access for non AT&T customers. According to their CEO, Howard Schultz, in the fall the chain will roll out its Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo and other sites. The company hopes to capitalize on trends towards localizing unique news content only accessed through their wireless network.
In addition to the inked partnership with Yahoo, Starbucks is talking to AOL’s Patch.com content-creation division about having it create customized content for the network. In addition, the network will include free online access to the Wall Street Journal, with a percentage of subscription revenue generated when coffee drinkers decide they want to access those articles elsewhere, too.
Starbucks has had trouble over the past few years maintaining and leveraging its former brand status. Is free wireless going to increase business and traffic into their stores? Or is it too much, too late?
If you let Black Web’s managing editor Sherri L. Smith tell it, “Free wireless is the business person’s field of dreams. If you offer free Internet, they will come.”Category: web 2.0 | Tags: free wi-fi, Starbucks, Starbucks Digital Network, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo