Starbucks: The current merchandise review episode

Let’s look at the merchandise that is currently offered in Starbucks stores.  I’m just going to walk you through a number of mugs, tumblers, and current merchandise items and offer my two cents.  Please feel free to post your own thoughts too in the comments!

The stores have an early fall look to them, with mugs for Anniversary Blend coffee, Via Ready Brew mugs, and new tumblers.  I took all  of these photos while visiting the Starbucks at 6th and Union in downtown Seattle today, September 11, 2011.  I knew that 6th and Union has a large and impressive looking merchandise wall, so I picked that store.  I was glad to walk in and see two very friendly partners whom I know.  One of them said that she’s the one who had set up the merch wall for this fall’s launch.  (Wait.  Please allow me to clarify:  I walked in and saw three partners working at the 6th and Union store.  Two of them I already knew.)

One mug that I think is quite elegant and beautiful is the new black and white logo mug.  The logo, while perhaps not obvious at first glance, is etched into the side of the mug.  The white logo against a black background is striking, and it is even more striking to hold it in your hand and feel the grooves made by the logo:

Next up, I took a look at two new Via travel mugs.  Each one appears to be about 12 ounces, though I didn’t double check!  I really like the one with the orange-colored rim and the word Via around the rim.  It looks like a great size for Via (of course that’s the point!), and I like the pattern, and it is comfortable in the hand.  Although brown and orange are quintessential Via Ready Brew colors, I also think it fits nicely in with the fall merchandise since those are fall colors too!

There are coffee sleeves for those that are interested in them.  There’s nothing about these sleeves that jumps out at me, and since I don’t normally use a sleeve, I have difficulty getting enthusiastic about them.  But here they are:

There is some merchandise for the tea drinkers too:

I like the ceramic pour over!  Notice that it comes with filters in it:

One unsung hero in the merchandise is the white 16-ounce travel tumbler with the new logo on it.  It has been around since before the fall launch but it is worth pointing out.  I have one at home and haven’t really been using it.  I don’t usually use Grande size tumblers and mugs.  Recently, I decided to make Iced Caramel Via in it, and I closed it securely and shook it with the cold water and Via.  This travel tumbler really doesn’t leak!  I was totally impressed.  This is the tumbler for those who don’t want coffee leaks!  I noticed on the bottom it says “Made in the USA.”  For many people, that is a big issue!  More points for the basic solid white with logo travel tumbler:

And last but not least, there is an Anniversary mug and tumbler:

Hope you enjoyed this tour of (selected) current merchandise!



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  • Sebastian

    Great to see Merch from other countries! Thanks so much for the photos and this blog post, Mel.

    In Germany our Fall promo starts tomorrow and I am glad to see that we gonna get some things that I’ve seen on your pics as well. The Anniversary Blend Mug and Tumbler are sold here as well…I can’t wait to get myself the Tumbler which looks just beautiful.

    We have the white and green new Logo Mug, too. But unfortunately we won’t have the black and white version that looks so precious.

  • purple1

    The merchandise wall at this SB is totally awesome! The merchandise display at my local SB is too chopped up with merchandise all over the store and nothing is as striking as this. I did purchase the new black logo mug and it is really quite nice. I love the purple mugs although for me it would be nice if they were a bit bigger. Nice post Melody. Too many times I see the stores are not really promoting new merchandise – all they do is put new signs up and leave it at that! Thank you.

  • Ann

    Are those sleeves made from recycled materials? May seek one out if so.

  • kara86ster

    Oh, I just love Starbucks merchandise! From your first picture, I notice there is a bag too on the shelves. About the VIA travel mugs, on, its only 8 oz, but I’m not sure if its the same one. But the black mug is surely the crème de la crème! Its very contrast with the white one, so elegant!… =)

  • Lisa C.

    Picked up the anniversary tumbler last week. It was too pretty to pass up (even though I have absolutely no need of another travel mug). :-)

  • Hayley

    The black and white siren mug is so pretty! I haven’t see that one around yet, but I have a feeling I’ll be searching for it. I’m glad you pointed out that siren was etched into the mug and not a painted graphic. That really makes it unique. I’m excited to try the Anniversary Blend this year too! I fell in love with it last year but there were some years where I hadn’t been crazy about it.

  • Melody

    @Kara86ster – I need to go back and take a closer look at those Via mugs. They might be about 10 ounces. Room for milk and sugar, or you can make Via a little weaker at about 10 ounces. Will double check and report back!

    @Purple1 – What do you mean by the merchandise all over the store? The anniversary mugs are separate, but your store should have a wall with everything on display? This wall is striking, but all stores should have some kind of wall.

  • purple1

    My store does have a wall, but it is not a large area so the merchandise is placed on some free standing shelves and on tables near the counter. It is not an optimal design from my lay perspective for sure.

  • Melody

    @Purple1 – It sounds like your local store is ready for a major remodel. This store (6th & Union downtown) just had its major reno, so it’s pretty stunning.

  • denise r

    That is a very attractive ‘display wall’ in this store.
    Personally, I liked the new Anniversary siren cup best….you can’t see it in these pics (I don’t think?) but on the other side of the cup is “Starbucks Coffee” in a golden ribbon with the yr “2011” beneath that. I really like seeing the year right on the cup.

    @purple1: I think I know what you mean about the wall sizes. My old first “home” store has a very large wall space….. and then also some displays around. The store I frequent now has less than half that wall space and everything else has to be set around on display racks and tables. alot of differences in the stores, I think.

    I LOVE seeing the merchandise stuff Melody so thanx for the tour, again. I had seen that ceramic pour over online, I think. (when they sent out that AnniversaryBlend notice)
    Ceramic would be better for home use, for sure. I’m just not a fan of pour-overs. I had a Sbux tumbler in the early ’90’s like this, that was essentially a pour over…came with a little ‘pour over’ device that sat on top of the tumbler , had a gold filter, and even a cover of some sort to keep it warm. I used it at work for a few yrs, but I always thought of that as an emergency (best possible) way of making a cup. A french press is one thing but it kind of irked me a bit when Sbux came out with this (last yr or so, in the cafes) as what they would do for us in place of the failed “brew on demand”…or whatever that was called. I don’t believe it’s a good (TO ME) way of making coffee but I feel they tried to put it across that way.

    better close my mouth now! Thanx for the pics Melody..I always love the merchandise “stuff” 😉

  • purple1

    About two years ago my local SB made some remodeling changes that I and others feel do not make any sense. It is not as a comfortable place to sit and yes a major remodel would surely make sense. Two years ago I briefly spoke with the DM about the changes and tried to convince him why it would not work, but as you can imagine it went nowhere. Basically, he said thank you and gave me the reasons why it was being done the way it was being done.

  • Kaori

    I love when the stores just start their new promotions and all the merchandise are all lined up on the shelf like in your first photo. So pretty to see the new designs! I think the tea mugs are beautiful but nothing could top the new logo mugs! ;D

  • kitenarie

    I love all the new merchandise! It’s just so pretty!

    The VIA mugs have that 8oz rim that they all have, and then a little bit of space before the lid. I know that’s not a very helpful answer.

  • Steve

    I know it’s probably just me but I have not yet seen a piece of merch with the new logo that I really like. I loved how the old logo seemed to fit just right onto so many items and my favorite piece ever was a clear coffee cup that had the old logo embossed on it. I guess to me the new logo is almost “too big” for some of the cups, at least the way it’s printed on it. Again, just my opinion and I don’t mean to offend with my comments.

  • Halloween Every Day

    Great idea for a post. I wonder if Starbucks issues Halloween mugs every year and, if so, when they will appear in the stores.

  • denise r

    I have a couple glasses from a long time ago..they were sold in the cafes….just tall glasses with the (old) logo on them. I’ve never seen them anywhere since …whenever I got them but I do treasure them. maybe ’90’s, late?

  • Sherry

    the black & white logo mug looks perfect to use my white ceramic pour over with…mmm…coffee! :)

  • Michelle

    I love the black and white mug. We don’t have it. I should check and see if I can order it in.

    Ann – The reusable sleeves are made out of felt, I think.

    Re: the discussion of the merchandise wall. My store is one of those that doesn’t have all the merchandise lined up together. There isn’t a wall in the store that would be long enough to do that unless we removed all the seating. So, I have whole bean in one spot with some merchandise below, and tea and other merchandise in a separate area…as well as a floor stand which has all the VIA on it. While it’s not all together, I think it works out ok because of how it’s set up you walk past all of it on your way through the store to the register. Something I noticed when I was in Seattle is that the cafes there are HUGE in comparison to what we have around here (or where my mom lives either actually). Even the non-drive thru stores don’t have cafes the size of what I saw when I was in Seattle. I am jealous of their square footage!

  • Salma

    I’m a Starbucks mug collector btw! I’m actually moving to the states soon, and I’m thinking what to di with my collection!!! Looks like I’ll take them with me because each and every mug has a story and a special place in my heart! <3

  • Chris W.

    Customers at my store are really enjoying the fall serveware. With the exception of the Iced To-Go Tumblers last holiday, this product mix is making the biggest impact. I’m afraid our customers were not able to purchase the Melitta Pour Over cone, because another partner and I bought both of the ones delivered to our store before they even made it to the shelves! (We did get two more the next week, so we aren’t keeping them from anyone for too long).

  • Violetsouffle

    Sometimes I wish Starbucks offered prints of their art for sale as I almost always find it striking and pretty. There’s a framed piece in the Starbucks we frequent when we visit Asheville that is simply gorgeous and fun enough for any room.
    As for their mugs and cups, we own quite a few tumblers for morning coffee and several travel mugs, but the old Starbucks Via Cup from last summer is a wreck. Whenever we shake it, it builds up ridiculous pressure and when opened, spews coffee all over you :( I should pick up one of the new ones so that can stop happening!
    We also own two of the new glass water bottles they introduced this summer and I LOVE mine, except the lid is clumsy sometimes and with all the pieces at least one is always missing it’s lid.
    I am also not a coffee-sleeve sort of person, but if I was I would probably want to buy it handmade or just use the recyclable kind, not something manufactured in a factory and shipped to Starbucks. It’s with items like that that I always wish I saw them partnering with local artists, maybe inviting a knitting club to meet in the store once a month and make coffee-mug sleeves for sale.
    As for their tea collection, I have always been a little disappointed, because other than their actual tea bags, which are delicious; the tea mugs and sets are a little plain and ‘boring.’ I am a happy tea drinker and any excuse to accessorize my tea is usually seized upon, but I rarely find anything in their stores that makes me inspired. Last fall they did have a tumbler with a nice space for loose-tea leaves, but I haven’t seen it since.

  • Melody

    @VioletSouffle – Totally agree. I have often wondered what is happening with the all coffee stamp wall hangings as stores get their major remodel. I wish I could get my hands on one of those Yirgacheffe posters that hang in many stores. Actually, I love the new store designs, but there are precious things coming off the walls!
    Starbucks struggles with the idea of local partnerships. The problem totally is that one group loves the idea of something unique and local, and then there are huge groups of people who say things like, “Why can’t I get that at my store?” – You see that common theme at MSI all the time. If one store has something unique (New York stores have a great black and white cookie! The chocolate croissant is not at all stores. The bistro boxes are not in many remote Starbucks markets) then someone will come to MSI and say, “Bring xyz thing to my city …” – There really is a powerful pressure to have uniformity of offerings from store to store, and there are large groups of customers who demand that and don’t seem to understand otherwise.

  • Becky E

    The new merchandise is nice, especially the black mug. Unfortunately, my local Starbucks cares nothing about merchandise or even nice displays anymore. It’s kind of depressing to go in there. The evening staff is just awful. But, I have hope that will change and also really hope they do some Halloween merchandise apart from a tumbler. Bring back the Halloween mugs, please!!

  • purple1

    I agree that some stores do not care how the merchandise is displayed only care that it is out there as is most likely required by corporate. I see no real effort to engage customers in the new merchandise. I also agree that there is a difference in partner attitude from morning shift to evening shift. I guess that could be anywhere or anytime.

  • denise r

    @Melody: you know my name is on any Yirgacheffe print/pic out there, right? 😉

  • Hallie

    @Becky E, I’m so sorry to hear that your store isn’t focused on merchandising display. I have a very limited amount of space to work with, and i try very hard to make my displays as much like the layouts, or, at least, visually pleasing and eye-catching. I love setups, they are my FAVORITE thing to do! I can’t wait for the holidays….its chaos for a whole night and the next morning it looks like a winter wonderland in the middle of the west Texas desert!

  • Becky E

    @Hallie, it’s a thing where the store shares a walk through area with a bank. They’ve turned their 4 tall shelf units back to back making a large rectangle and a person has to walk around it to see the merchandise. I don’t like walking into the bank as you immediately lose the “Starbucks atmosphere”. Then there is a table set up right in front of one unit so there’s no way to look at the items there let alone pick something up to purchase if someone is sitting there. Just not good. Your store sounds like a place I’d love to come hang out and buy my merchandise! Keep up the good work, it’s appreciated I’m sure.

  • Brenda Donnell

    Why are there no Halloween mugs this year. I am so bummed!

  • Melody

    @Brenda – Totally agree with you. I remember in the past there would always be little 8 ounce halloween tumblers – The designs gave the impression that they were really more for the kids, but I totally liked them!! I miss the Halloween merchandise that used to be so common, and appears to be a thing of the past for Starbucks now. :(

    Oops! I forgot to say “welcome” to the blog. Hope you’ll subscribe – There is a box in the right hand column, underneath the image of the coffee cup, where you put in your email address to subscribe to the blog. Thanks!

  • denise r

    oh yes! Halloween! there’s no sign of it here (in Sbux) either and certainly, there used to be! It did seem geared towards kid’s stuff but ?? Too bad. I wish they’d forget about the grocery stores and VIA and get some meaningful focus back on the cafes, their merchandise, and real coffee.

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