A recent Business Insider article broached the topic of Google’s Wing Marketplace, a drone delivery service that could make deliveries for a $6 flat fee.
What caught our eye was this comment,
Talks with Starbucks apparently failed because Google wanted too much control over the user experience.
What does it mean?
Google is the world’s largest data company. Yet they lack some pretty important information: namely, item-level purchases being made by consumers in the offline world.
Why is it important? Well, 75% of advertising spend comes from suppliers, and they need to know what people are buying at the item-level; Nike doesn’t care that you shopped at Macy’s so much as they care about what you bought whilst there.
Google has developed a number of strategies to go after said data, but none of have panned out at scale. Google now seems to be riding the delivery wave as a way to capture the item data they could be missing.
Starbucks does relatively little with its data, but it likes to control the customer experience in its own application. It’s why they’ve tied their gift cards, loyalty, mobile payments and order ahead to their mobile app.
When Starbucks rebuffed a company that is a billion times more sophisticated, it meant that Google was disrupting the flow of information to the user. Thus, we’re inclined to believe Google was offering an ordering platform where it could capture the item purchases, tie it to a customer’s card payment and therefore a unique customer.
Now if Starbucks were smart they would figure out how to leverage Google’s vast repository of information. This is not unlike grocers realizing they could put their suppliers to work on their behalf.
But like every other brick and mortar retailer, Starbucks doesn’t see that far ahead, even as they build packaged products for grocery shelves themselves. The irony is too much.
Starbucks aside, my only concern with Google having this information is a notion that they might not share it with the merchant. Groupon still catches flak for its unwillingness to share customer data with merchants. UberEats and Grubhub are also following down the same path.
99% of merchants wouldn’t know what to do with the information any way, but that’s not really the point: they should have access to it if they want.
There’s a reason firms are stingy with the information. As we continue to reiterate around here, data is king. Even if Starbucks doesn’t understand it.