JavaNet is faced with the exciting opportunity of being the first-mover in the Eugene cyber-cafe market. The consistent popularity of coffee, combined with the growing interest in the Internet, has been proven to be a winning concept in other markets and will produce the same results in Eugene.
JavaNet intends to cater to people who want a guided tour on their first spin around the Internet and to experienced users eager to indulge their passion for computers in a social setting. Furthermore, JavaNet will be a magnet for local and traveling professionals who desire to work or check their email messages in a friendly atmosphere. These professionals will either use JavaNet's PCs, or plug their notebooks into Internet connections. JavaNet's target market covers a wide range of ages: from members of Generation X who grew up surrounded by computers, to Baby Boomers who have come to the realization that people today cannot afford to ignore computers.
A market survey was conducted in the Fall of 1996. Key questions were asked of fifty potential customers. Some key findings include:
Factors such as current trends, addiction, and historical sales data ensure that the high demand for coffee will remain constant over the next five years. The rapid growth of the Internet and online services, that has been witnessed worldwide, is only the tip of the iceberg. The potential growth of the Internet is enormous, to the point where one day, a computer terminal with an online connection will be as common and necessary as a telephone. This may be 10 or 20 years down the road, but for the next five years, the online service provider market is sure to experience tremendous growth. Being the first cyber-cafe in Eugene, JavaNet will enjoy the first-mover advantages of name recognition and customer loyalty. Initially, JavaNet will hold a 100 percent share of the cyber-cafe market in Eugene. In the next five years, competitors will enter the market. JavaNet has set a goal to maintain greater than a 50 percent market share.
JavaNet's customers can be divided into two groups. The first group is familiar with the Internet and desires a progressive and inviting atmosphere where they can get out of their offices or bedrooms and enjoy a great cup of coffee. The second group is not familiar with the Internet, yet, and is just waiting for the right opportunity to enter the online community. JavaNet's target market falls anywhere between the ages of 18 and 50. This extremely wide range of ages is due to the fact that both coffee and the Internet appeal to a variety of people. In addition to these two broad categories, JavaNet's target market can be divided into more specific market segments. The majority of these individuals are students and business people. See the Market Analysis chart and table below for more specifics.
The retail coffee industry in Eugene experienced rapid growth at the beginning of the decade and is now moving into the mature stage of its life cycle. Many factors contribute to the large demand for good coffee in Eugene. The University is a main source of demand for coffee retailers. The climate in Eugene is extremely conducive to coffee consumption. Current trends in the Northwest reflect the popularity of fresh, strong, quality coffee and specialty drinks. Eugene is a haven for coffee lovers.
The popularity of the Internet is growing exponentially. Those who are familiar with the Internet are well aware of how fun and addictive surfing the Net can be. Those who have not yet experienced the Internet, need a convenient, relaxed atmosphere where they can feel comfortable learning about and utilizing the current technologies. JavaNet seeks to provide its customers with affordable Internet access in an innovative and supportive environment.
Due to intense competition, cafe owners must look for ways to differentiate their place of business from others in order to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. The founder of JavaNet realizes the need for differentiation and strongly believes that combining a cafe with complete Internet service is the key to success. The fact that no cyber-cafes are established in Eugene, presents JavaNet with a chance to enter the window of opportunity and enter into a profitable niche in the market.
The main competitors in the retail coffee segment are Cafe Paradisio, Full City, Coffee Corner and Allann Bros. These businesses are located in or near the downtown area, and target a similar segment to JavaNet's (i.e. educated, upwardly-mobile students and business people).
Competition from online service providers comes from locally-owned businesses as well as national firms. There are approximately eight, local, online service providers in Eugene. This number is expected to grow with the increasing demand for Internet access. Larger, online service providers, such as AOL and CompuServe are also a competitive threat to JavaNet. Due to the nature of the Internet, there are no geographical boundaries restricting competition.
There are approximately 16 coffee wholesalers in Lane County. These wholesalers distribute coffee and espresso beans to over 20 retailers in the Eugene area. Competition in both channels creates an even amount of bargaining power between buyers and suppliers resulting in extremely competitive pricing. Some of these major players in the industry (i.e. Allann Brothers Coffee Co., Inc. and Coffee Corner Ltd.) distribute and retail coffee products.
The number of online service providers in Eugene is approximately eight and counting. These small, regional service providers use a number of different pricing strategies. Some charge a monthly fee, while others charge hourly and/or phone fees. Regardless of the pricing method used, obtaining Internet access through one of these firms can be expensive. Larger Internet servers such as America Online (AOL), Prodigy, and CompuServe, are also fighting for market share in this rapidly growing industry. These service providers are also rather costly for the average consumer. Consumers who are not convinced they would frequently and consistently travel the Internet, will not be willing to pay these prices.
The dual product/service nature of JavaNet's business faces competition on two levels. JavaNet competes not only with coffee retailers, but also with Internet service providers. The good news is that JavaNet does not currently face any direct competition from other cyber-cafes in the Eugene market. There are a total of three cyber-cafes in the state of Oregon: one located in Portland and two in Ashland.
Heavy competition between coffee retailers in Eugene creates an industry where all firms face the same costs. There is a positive relationship between price and quality of coffee. Some coffees retail at $8/pound while other, more exotic beans may sell for as high as $16/pound. Wholesalers sell beans to retailers at an average of a 50 percent discount. For example, a pound of Sumatran beans wholesales for $6.95 and retails for $13.95. And as in most industries, price decreases as volume increases.