What does the Italian market demand?

REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

After analyzing the characteristics that Starbucks wants their consumers to view them as having, the next issue is to see whether they are shared by the Italian consumers. In order to ascertain that, we interviewed 40 people actually living in Italy and questioned them on two main points. First of all, they rated each association in order to align with their personal tastes, to what they look for when they enter in a café. The question asked was, “for each of the 7 points developed above, how important is each particular aspect to you (from 1 to 10)?”. Then, in order to understand how many and whether people were actually satisfied by Starbucks, we asked them to rate, again, for each of the 7 points, “how much are they actually satisfied by the service provided by the American company”. The objective was to find out the discrepancies between what consumers want and what Starbucks offers them; in other words, see if gaps exist to understand where Starbucks should invest in.

Looking at the table and graph, the most relevant gaps found are the ones concerning the working space and quality oriented characteristics of the cafés. The concept of “café as a working space” is considered to have a low importance (3.35). Instead, quality is given an 8.95 level of importance, with a 3.35 level of actual satisfaction.

As far as the working space is concerned, Starbucks is known to provide environment to work. It is a calm place and has plenty of tables where people can sit. It offers facilities such as the Wi-Fi connection and the absence of table service makes it a more suitable surrounding to read, study or work. However, as we can see from the discrepancy in the averages, the typical Italian profile does not look for a place to sit and stay for a lot of time, but rather for a bar where he can drink a good coffee, exchange a word with the barman and then go out.

For the quality aspect, Starbucks offers a very wide range of products.  Their food is usually full of ingredients such as chocolate and whipped cream and it sells very rich cakes. Instead, Italian consumers prefer homemade products, with fresh milk and genuine ingredients. This is because of Italian culture for food, which is given a huge importance.

Knowing these discrepancies, we can now zone in on where Starbucks should focus its activity and investments in order to be successful in the Italian market.

The main gaps we found between what Starbucks ideally wants customers to perceive it as and what Italian customers actually perceive it as are the quality and working space associations. 

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