In a world that is rapidly moving away from brick and mortar stores and transitioning to online shopping, how does a coffee company use technology to better engage with and retain its customers? Picture this – you just took a red-eye in from SF to JFK, and are in the cab on your way to an early morning meeting. All you need is a coffee, and with a few clicks on your phone you’re able to locate the nearest Starbucks, order and pay for your favorite latte, and it will be there waiting for you when you arrive.
The Starbucks app is said to be one of the most widely used mobile payment apps in the U.S. What can you do on the app? Locate your nearest Starbucks. Pay using state of the art barcode scanning in store, or better yet, pay via the app before you even get there. Pre-order your favorite drink and have it waiting there for you. Collect rewards to use for free drinks, food, and more. Send Starbucks Card eGifts to friends via the app. It sounds like the question is more like “what can’t you do on the app?”
What does Starbucks get out of the app? Although Starbucks hasn’t seen a significant hike in profitability due purely to the app itself, the number of orders placed via the app is astounding – about 16% of orders are placed via the app, and that number has been forecasted to grow at about 50% annually. Many companies struggle to gain user adoption of mobile payment apps. Why has Starbucks succeeded?
To start off, coffee is personal. It’s habit. It’s something that many people drink every day. Starbucks found away to engage with their clients to make the experience feel even a bit more personal. Starbucks Rewards encourages regular customers to continue their loyalty, and perhaps even convince the not as regular customers to come more.
Starbucks uses their app to make it easier for customers who are looking for ease and convenience when making their daily Starbucks run. Customers who may have otherwise been too busy (or can’t be bothered for that matter) to wait in line at the store and go through the hassle of paying can now seamlessly complete their transaction in only a few clicks.
Starbucks also found a way to make coffee more social amongst friends with their eGift capability. Want to thank a friend for watching your dog? Send them a gift card via the Starbucks app.
What’s next? It has said that Starbucks’ next move with the app is to move into the delivery space. What impact could this have on delivery services (Postmates, and potentially Uber)? It’s been said that leading mobile payment services have approached Starbucks for partnerships because of the success of the app. Starbucks has a proven track record of being innovative – and I’m not just talking about their drink recipes. I believe Starbucks will continue to push the boundaries of innovation both within and outside of their industry.