Starbucks puts its web site where its growth is

Starbucks may be closing stores in the US, but it’s still growing internationally.

According to the Seattle PI:

Starbucks recently opened stores in the Czech Republic, Amsterdam and Poland. And it has plans for a big push in China.

Starbucks began its expansion outside of North America in 1996 when it opened two stores in Japan. By 2000, teamed up with its Canadian operation, it had opened 127 stores internationally. Its appetite for worldwide growth grew bigger in 2005 when it set its sights on 1,500 stores internationally, including expansions into Brazil, India, Russia and China.

Perhaps it’s coincidence that when Starbucks redesigned its Web site recently the “International” link was promoted to the top of the page, as shown here:

starbucks_gateway_august2009

For Starbucks, this is big.

The previous two web designs, stretching all the way back to 2003, relegated the “Worldwide” link to the bottom of the left column.

starbucks_gateway.gif

Not an ideal location.

That said, now that Starbucks has promoted its international interface, there is still room for improvement.

For starters, the accented characters used in Österreich and España didn’t appear correctly on both my Mac and PC browsers. It looks like an Adobe Flash glitch, but a pretty big one I’d say.

Second, I’d like to see the “International” link accompanied with a globe or map icon. Would a non-native English speaker know to click on the International link? I’m not sure. A globe icon speaks many languages.

I’m glad to see Starbucks put an emphasis on International. It may seem like a trivial change in the great scheme of things, but I know how various departments and divisions within companies battle over the precious real estate of a global home page. Here’s hoping the International link retains its high-profile position.

I think it will. After all, international is where the growth is.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

1 thought on “Starbucks puts its web site where its growth is”

  1. The international dropdown garbage characters are actually a JavaScript error…this is because the whole http://www.starbucks.com site is in Western European encoding. They need to escape the accented characters in the JavaScript code to get them to display right. What i find strange is the various locale-specific sites are all in UTF-8, but the main site is not.

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