This evening you may see reports of Starbucks' most recent announcement: it will be offering free wifi from July.
Starbucks is the biggest brand on Facebook, with 7.4million fans, as I mentioned in a recent post. It makes me wonder whether this level of digital thinking has led the brand to let go of the revenues it's bringing in through selling wifi access, in favour of the custom of people who like web access for free, but who will buy other things as a result... (Like maybe coffee?!).
A report out over the weekend by Syncapse showed that people who are into social media, specifically free social media like Facebook, spend more money on other stuff in general. It seems to me that Starbucks, with its now large digital fan club, has seen proof first hand that if you attract the right kind of consumer, the benefit is disproportionately greater than if you were to simply charge them at the door. And you don't have to be a company that sells digital technology in order to benefit from attracting digital consumers.