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Starbucks exec: Seismic change in consumer behavior linked to technology

NEW YORK ? A Starbucks executive at the NRF 102nd Annual Convention & Expo said that mobile is mission-critical and needs to be funded and resourced appropriately, with a seat at the head of the table.

During the ?Conscious Leadership: A Call to Action for the Retail Industry and Beyond? session, executive from Starbucks, Whole Foods and The Container Store discussed the ever-growing retail industry. The retail space is continually changing and marketers are leveraging technologies such as mobile and social media to interact with consumers in a new and unique way.

"It has never been more challenging for a brick-and-mortar retail merchant to succeed in an enduring way," said Howard Schultz, chairman/president of Starbucks.

?There is a seismic change in consumer behavior that is linked to technology such as social and mobile platforms,? he said. ?The level of investment capability in these new platforms, especially mobile, is mission-critical to our companies.

It can?t be an after-thought ? that capability needs a front seat at the table.?

Embracing change
Almost every sector out there has changed in great part to emerging channels such as mobile and social.

Starbucks, for many years now, has implemented a mobile-first mentality and has continually innovated in the space. 

The company has invested heavily in mobile channels such as SMS, QR codes, augmented reality, mobile advertising, applications, an optimized site and most notably into mobile payments.

By doing so, Starbucks is able to connect with consumers in a variety of different ways.

It is important that marketers realize the potential of technology and implement their won strategies to better target consumers.

Nowadays, consumers are more tech-savvy and expect more from their favorite brands, such as the ability to connect with them no matter where they are, no matter what device they are on. 

Driving loyalty
Emerging channels such as mobile and social help build loyalty among brands and consumers.

Marketers need to invest in the market and test out different channels to see what fits in their strategy.

Currently, many marketers are still testing the waters when it comes to mobile and social. However, it is important for marketers to grasp the technology and continually include it into their campaigns.

Mobile and social complement each other, and when married together, deliver great results.

Marketers need to look at mobile as a priority as opposed to a simple add-on. Technology is changing and marketers need to act accordingly.

?You have to invest in the growth curve and technology,? Mr. Schultz said. ?The seismic change demands that we be as relevant outside the four walls of our store, as well as inside.