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You are here: Home / Customer Service / Starbucks Lets You Drink Up on the Go
Starbucks Lets You Drink Up with Smartphone Payments
Starbucks Lets You Drink Up with Smartphone Payments
By Jennifer LeClaire / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
If you have a BlackBerry smartphone or an Apple mobile device, you can now pay for your White Chocolate Mocha -- or your double espresso or your Pike's Roast -- quickly on the go. That's because Starbucks just launched mobile payments in all of its U.S. company-operated stores.

The coffee retailer's latest innovation builds on Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone and iPod touch devices, as well as a successful mobile-payment test program. Starbucks is billing it as the fastest way to pay in 7,800 stores across the country.

Starbucks may seem early to the mobile-payments game, but the momentum has been building. Generator Research revealed that the global mobile-payment market reached about $69 million in 2009, the last year for which data is available. By 2014, the firm predicts mobile payments will reach $633 billion a year as 490 million customers use their smartphones to pay for goods.

The Mobile-Payment Sweet Spot

"Today, one in five Starbucks transactions is made using a Starbucks card, and mobile payment will extend the way our customers experience and use their Starbucks card," said Brady Brewer, vice president for Starbucks card and brand loyalty. "With mobile payment, the Starbucks card platform further elevates the customer experience by delivering convenience, rewarding loyalty, and continuing to build an emotional connection with our customers."

If you want to use mobile payments at Starbucks, you need to download the free Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry smartphones, or Apple's iPhone or iPod touch. Starbucks settled on BlackBerry and Apple because three-quarters of its smartphone-using customers have those mobile devices.

Here's how it works: You can pay with your smartphone by holding the mobile device in front of a scanner on the countertop and scan the Starbucks Card Mobile App's on-screen bar code to make a purchase.

Beyond the mobile-payment capability, the app lets you manage your Starbucks card account, check your card balance, reload your card with any major credit card (iPhone users can also use PayPal), check your My Starbucks Reward status, and find a nearby Starbucks store with the store locator feature.

Prepaid Card Continuation

Brad Shimmin, an analyst at Current Analysis, isn't surprised that Starbucks is getting out in front of mobile payments. He noted that Starbucks has been working toward this for some time with both its mobile-apps and member card program.

"Customers have long used prepaid coffee cards and kept track of their card balance and member rewards via the company's mobile apps, so the introduction of a scan-based mobile-device debit service, which simply merges card and mobile app, will undoubtedly receive a warm welcome from die-hard Starbucks customers," Shimmin said.

"This move will also help acclimate the U.S. to mobile payments, helping it catch up with Europe, which has broadly and passionately embraced mobile-payment methods for everything from gas to snack machines."

Image credit: iStock/Artist's concept.

Tell Us What You Think


Gaibo Yan:
Posted: 2011-01-27 @ 7:20am PT
that's cool, it's really gonna change the way people shop in the near future.

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