Starbucks “teaches Vietnamese a lesson”

VietNamNet Bridge – The Vietnamese people’s high sensitivity to the new things, and the overly high enthusiasm of the mass media have both helped promote the US Starbucks brand in Vietnam.

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Vietnam, Starbucks, Trung Nguyen, Dang Le Nguyen Vu, coffee culture

In general, the opening of a new retail chain would not catch the special attention from the Vietnamese who hear about the opening of shops every day.

However, the opening of the first Starbucks shop in Vietnam, located in district 1 of HCM City, was a special case. Opened on February 1, 2013, the café has been attracting a high number of Vietnamese over the last half a month. Long queues of people still can be seen every day in front of the café. People stand there and wait in patience for their turn to enjoy the coffee from the US.

Observers said they have not seen such a thing before in HCM City, where most of the big consumer food brands have made their presence when penetrating the Vietnamese market. Here in HCM City, people have got used to the presence of the global big brands, including the well-known coffee brands from Australia, the US or Italy.

On the first days after the opening, Vietnamese had to queue up under the baking sun to buy the “low-quality coffee” as described by real coffee addicts, at the exorbitant high prices of between VND60,000 and VND100,000.

In fact, the “Starbucks phenomenon” not only takes place in Vietnam, while the phenomenon is foreseeable, because Starbucks is a gigantic brand. Moreover, marketing experts said the brand has experiences in creating Starbucks phenomenon in the markets it lands in. Howard Schult, President and CEO of Starbucks, has been considered as the businessman who has many great ideas to catch the special attention from the targeted customers.

Marketing experts have noted that Starbucks has made a wise move when deciding that its first shop should be opened in early February. The month is the transitional period between the old and the new lunar years, when a lot of domestic cafes close their door but Vietnamese people still have the demand for going out and having meetings.

Vietnamese mass media has also helped a lot in making Starbucks brand more popular in the Vietnamese community. The appearance of a series of stories with the keyword “Starbucks” on websites and newspapers has helped the US coffee brand advertise for its products free of charge.

Hoang Tung, a well-known marketing expert, has noted that Starbucks has succeeded in using events to attract the mass media.

In the countries, where Starbucks once landed in, especially in Asia Pacific, it is quite a normal thing that people have to queue up for services on the first days after the opening.

The long queues and the series of stories on local newspapers prove to be the most powerful tools for Starbucks to polish its images. In the eyes of businessmen, the long queues and the stories are obviously less costly than the expenses to be paid for advertisement campaigns.

However, analysts said when the “Starbucks fever” is over, no one would be ready to stand for a long time under the summer heat to buy a cup of coffee, even though it is Starbucks coffee. They believe that the Vietnamese buy Starbucks coffee nowadays just because they want to try the US coffee, while the “Vietnamese coffee culture” would not change overnight.

However, Vietnamese enterprises have been told to be cautious with Starbucks, while they should be aware that the Starbucks’ way of doing marketing is great for them to inquire.


Vietnam, Starbucks, Trung Nguyen, Dang Le Nguyen Vu, coffee culture