Starbucks Merchandise Is Selling Like Crazy (But Starbucks Won't See a Dime of It)
Starbucks customers are committed and loyal. For people whose daily routines include stopping at their local Starbucks, life just isn’t the same right now. We get it. We have spots like that, too. But some people are so affected by the lack of Starbucks in their life that they’re buying Starbucks merchandise online in huge numbers.
But there's a twist: They’re not buying directly from Starbucks, because Starbucks doesn’t sell merchandise online. They’re buying stuff from third-party online resellers like Poshmark.
— Kelly Gemin (@RecipeChaser) May 28, 2020
That’s because Starbucks has drastically scaled back its own merchandising game, after first shifting to in-person sales only in 2017, and then cutting its merchandise stock in stores by 30 percent. With no online store and a lot of customers still without the option of going into physical Starbucks stores, the company is missing out on a huge amount of potential revenue from merchandise sales.
According to CNN, orders of Starbucks merchandise on Poshmark have increased by more than 100 since most states and cities went on lockdown in March. Some prices are marked up by more than $65, which is pretty much par for the course when it comes to hype resale.
One of the most popular items on OfferUp, another resale site, has been the color-changing tumblers
“People have been making their coffee at home and pouring it into their favorite Starbucks cups, or taking their Starbucks mugs to their Zoom meetings or now, virtual coffee meets,” Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra said, according to Inside Retail.
Sellers have taken to Poshmark to sell items like the seasonal cups, tumblers and mugs. It’s sort of like how everyone buys up Supreme apparel to sell later. The resale game revolves around hype and manufactured scarcity. Ordinarily, there wouldn’t be such high demand for Starbucks items you could find in any number of Starbucks locations in just about every city in the U.S. But right now, when a lot of places, especially densely populated cities with lots of Starbucks locations but still under stay-at-home orders, these are harder to come by.
And when someone’s day starts (and continues) with a Starbucks cup in-hand, replicating that experience becomes all the more important.
Obviously, when Starbucks shifted away from e-commerce, it didn’t foresee a global pandemic would cause physical stores to shut down for an indefinite period of time. No one really saw that one coming. But when so many businesses have shifted away from brick-and-mortar sales in favor of online capabilities, it’s an odd choice. And now it’s even more of a glaring issue in hindsight.
But it’s not too late for Starbucks to capitalize on the hype. If it came out now with a “We’re Back” line or something, the people shopping on Poshmark would probably buy it all up in a highly caffeinated heartbeat. A Starbucks spokesperson told CNN that the company is aware of the resale demand for its branded products, but wouldn’t elaborate any further. So, maybe they’re working on it? Or maybe they’re just a little embarrassed that they aren’t the ones cashing in right now.