Starbucks officially shut down its online store on Sunday, crushing some fans who had relied upon the e-commerce site to obtain the company’s flavored syrups, bulk coffee orders, and other branded merchandise. The closure of the online outlet was confirmed in August as the company put many on-site items on sale at steep discounts. On September 1, Starbucks also discontinued its subscription programs.
Visitors to store.starbucks.com now see a prompt to order online via the Starbucks app — for in-store pick-up only — and in a message to customers, the coffee company encouraged fans to visit its stores to obtain products like mugs, or order coffee. Coffee beans will still be available through some grocery chains. “We cannot guarantee availability of any product in store, but we know you will find many choices to enjoy,” the company wrote.
But with the shuttering of the online store, Starbucks syrups and sauces are among the retail items that are now discontinued. Many customers took this news the hardest, turning to Twitter to lament the loss of their personal stocks of vanilla and mulled spice flavorings.
Just found out @Starbucks is closing its online store and I won't be able to order my favorite coffees & vanilla syrup anymore#heartbroken— Elisa (@poolgoddess918) October 1, 2017
HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET THE MULLED SPICE SYRUP IF YOU CLOSE YOUR ONLINE STORE STARBUCKS. UUUUUUUUUUUUUGH #fwp— リサ (@lunasumbra) October 2, 2017
Starbucks’ digital store closure was the latest in a move by the chain to refocus on its stores and mobile app, according the The New York Times. In a recent earning call, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson described a “seismic shift” in the retail sector toward digital and mobile commerce.
Similarly, when speaking with investors in April, executive chairman Howard Schultz emphasized the importance of making stores an “experiential destination”: “Your product and services, for the most part, cannot be available online and cannot be available on Amazon.”
Starbucks has undergone some major changes in the past several months, including announcing the closing of nearly 400 Teavana mall locations by 2018. That decision prompted a lawsuit from the largest mall operator in the U.S., which alleges Starbucks is breaking its lease agreements. Meanwhile, Starbucks is continuing to open more fancy reserve bars across the U.S. in an appeal to third-wave coffee drinkers.
• Store.Starbucks.com Closure FAQs [Official]
• Starbucks Closes Online Store to Focus on In-Person Experience [NYT]
• All Starbucks Coverage [E]