"My job is to create an analytics community," said Mr. LaCugna
regarding the midday events he spearheaded to congregate Starbucks
data staffers along with people from other firms. Last week
representatives from Taco Bell were there to talk data, and,
evidently, not eat tacos.
A full quarter of Starbucks transactions are made via its
popular loyalty cards, and that results in "huge amounts" of data,
Mr. LaCugna said, but company isn't sure what to do with it all
The same goes for social media data, he said. Starbucks has a
team who analyzes social data, but, "We haven't figured out what
exactly to do with it yet," he said. It's a common refrain among
brands, and many of the speakers and attendees here at the
The caffeine purveyor is wasting no time trying to decipher
what's nestled in its loyalty card data, though. The firm has 6
million registered card customers and has profiled half of them,
said Mr. LaCugna.
"We know who you are. We know how you're different from others,"
Starting in May, Starbucks will allow purchasers of its
packaged-coffee products in grocery stores to rack up points on
their loyalty cards for use towards drinks and munchies at its own
store locations. That should help the firm reach an expected 9
million by the end of this fiscal year.
The company uses it card information to segment consumers and
set up business rules based on purchase behavior, then pumps out
offers immediately to them, often via their mobile devices. In the
past, that purchase information may have only been available on a
Often, that means targeting deals to people the firm worries are
at risk of not returning soon. As for the ultra-loyalists who show
up multiple times each week, "Why would we give them a discount?"
quipped Mr. LaCugna.
As Starbucks takes in its own continuous streams of purchase
data, and attempts to integrate new data sets from
recently-acquired tea seller Teavana, data governance is a concern,
he said, noting recent hacking occurrences of government data.
Data governance is also about ensuring information is uniform
enough to be integrated readily, and that remains a challenge.
Starbucks had "no budget" to integrate Teavana's data when it
bought the loose leaf tea merchant in November."We had let our data
governance lapse," he said. "We don't have a good competence yet
when it comes to integrating these acquisitions."
As firms like Starbucks navigate their shifting data terrain,
these types of problems will become more commonplace. Yet,
Starbucks appears to be making strides, as is evinced in the
culmination of a two-year effort to reorganize its system of
reporting information to its store operators.
The company once served up 300 reports to its managers on a
regular basis for them to evaluate and employ to improve store
operations. Now, in the same way Starbucks has simplified some of
the coffee selections in its stores, it's whittled down its
reporting structure to a manageable 11 key performance indicators
that can be downloaded by store managers. Those include store
cleanliness, productivity, and customer satisfaction ratings
derived from surveys provided to every 30th customer.
The 300 reports of yore? "They were really just noise," said Mr.