Starbucks made a splash when they started offering free Wi-Fi in their coffee shops, but now they are hoping to rope in even more coffee aficionados with the launch of the Starbucks Digital Network (or SDN for short).
It's basically an exclusive content network curated by Starbucks and meant to add to the customer’s experience while in the store. Customers who use Starbucks' free Wi-Fi at any of their 6,800 or so stores in the U.S. will be greeted with this SDN.
SDN is a collaboration between Starbucks and Yahoo, offering access to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today, with more content centered around six channels (News, Entertainment, Wellness, Business and Careers, the Starbucks customer channel My Neighborhood, and a channel focused on Starbucks' social media outlets).
It's a smart move, because there is a large demographic of caffeine addicts like myself who hang out in coffee shops quite a bit. But honestly, I think the free Wi-Fi is still more important than this personalized network. I'm not necessarily saying that people won't use the SDN, just that I doubt the impact of this SDN alone.
However, this a unique branding opportunity and it will be interesting to see if any other franchised companies who offer free Wi-Fi will try to duplicate Starbucks' efforts and make digital networks of their own.