Starbucks to rollout m-payments across US
System lets users check rewards status and find nearest store
Coffee chain Starbucks says it will launch mobile payments for purchases in all its US company-operated stores.
The company has shunned NFC-based payments and is using its own custom-built 2D barcode payment system where mobile transactions are conducted are made via a scanner on the countertop which scans the Card Mobile App’s on-screen barcode. It says it chose barcode scanning over near field communication technology due to the latter’s limited availability.
In terms of NFC-based payments, Chuck Davidson, the category manager of innovation on the Starbucks Card team, said the company had been reluctant to wait for the technology to build up critical mass when their customers had been requesting m-payments immediately.
He added: “Once there are more [NFC] users, we will adapt.”
The rollout comes after Starbucks trialled its Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone and iPod touch.
The full rollout of a national programme will cover nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and over 1,000 Starbucks in US Target locations.
“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, VP of card and brand loyalty at Strabucks. “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.”
To use the m-payment system customers download the free Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone or iPod touch mobile devices.
The retailer is also thought to be planning an Android m-payment application, though no release date has yet been announced.
The company says over a third of its US customers use smartphones, of which nearly three quarters use BlackBerrys or iPhones.
In addition to m-payments, the app allows customers to manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card with any major credit card (iPhone users can also use the PayPal feature), check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby Starbucks store with the store locator feature.
Starbucks piloted the technology in Seattle, Northern California, New York and in over 1,000 Starbucks in US Target stores.
Customers loaded more than US$1.5bn on Starbucks Cards in 2010, an increase of 21% over 2009, which the retailer says was driven in part by the My Starbucks Rewards program which provides benefits to customers who pay with a registered Starbucks Card at participating stores.