How Starbucks Is Staying At The Top Of Its Game Slideshow

Say Hello to Starbucks, the Juice Bar

Coffee may have its reported health benefits, but this new venture into the juice market is a real, big step into the increasingly profitable health-and-wellness category. According to reports, the plan is for products from the newly acquired Evolution Juice brand to be sold in Starbucks stores, and then for the first juice bar to open on the West Coast in mid-2012. Of course, the big question will be whether or not the company can do for the juice bar industry what it did for coffee shops.

Introducing a New "Blonde" Roast

The jury's still out on whether or not blondes have more fun, but at the very least, this "blonde" will make the coffee-chain behemoth even more popular. Known throughout its 40-year history for its premium dark-roast, bold-flavored coffees, Starbucks made the surprising announcement in October that it would be debuting a new, light-roast coffee. Set to launch in the U.S. in January, the new product line is designed to appeal to the reported 40 percent of American coffee drinkers who favor a lighter roasted coffee, a process which allows the drinker to taste more of the flavor and subtleties of the coffee. What's more is that this allows Starbucks to compete with companies like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts who already specialize in a lighter roast style. Not a bad idea considering the single-cup coffee sector is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Forgot Your Card? You Can Pay for That Latte with Your Phone

There seems to be no limit to the number of things you can do on your smartphone these days, and thanks to Starbucks' Mobile Pay app, that includes buying your morning coffee. Implemented across U.S. stores a little less than a year ago, there have already been a reported 20 million mobile pay transactions processed. Short of the cost of a cup of coffee becoming more wallet-friendly, it's hard to imagine how buying your daily brew can get any easier.

Hooking Up Customers with Free Wi-Fi

For those of us who have come to rely on Starbucks as a convenient, home-away-from-home to camp out with our laptops and do work or study, it's difficult to remember a time when free Wi-Fi wasn't just there for the taking. However, the customer experience-enhancing feature was actually only introduced to company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada on July 1, 2010. Before that, internet had been limited to members of the company's My Starbucks Rewards program, and only for two hours per day.

Starbucks in an Instant: VIA and K-Cups

Everyone knows that at certain times of the day the line at your local Starbucks can be a bit harrowing, and not in the least time-efficient. So in September of 2009, the company introduced VIA Ready Brew, a line of microgrind instant coffee, which has since expanded to include new flavored and iced varieties. What's more, Starbucks expanded its reach further into the quick-brew coffee market when it announced in August the launch of Starbucks coffee K-Cup Portion Packs for the Keurig Single Cup Brewing System.

However-You-Want-It Frappuccinos

Starbucks is all about making your coffee-drinking experience more customized (their "secret" menu alone is proof of that). So in May of 2010, the company introduced a new make-your-customer-happy tactic: the However-You-Want-It Frappuccino blended beverage. The decision to give customers total creative control over their frappuccino — from type of milk, to coffee intensity, to a combination of syrups and toppings — is no doubt how stars like the Crunch Berry Frappuccino were born.