Starbucks’ Lame Launch of Largest Mobile Payment System in US

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The news of the day is Starbucks’ launch of nationwide mobile payment system. The official press release reads:

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced the launch of mobile payment in all U.S. company-operated stores, allowing customers to pay for in-store purchases with select smartphones. Building on the earlier introduction of Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry® smartphones, iPhone® and iPod® touch and a successful mobile payment test program, customers now have access to the largest mobile payment program in the U.S. and the fastest way to pay at Starbucks. This national program now includes nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target locations

This is a very interesting move indeed, and it is always good to witness a large B2C brand doing something as innovative as this.

In the same press release Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Brand Loyalty, said:

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.

No doubt about it. However, the first question that came to my mind was: what does end user get in exchange for this loyalty apart from the mobile app and “an emotional connection”? A fellow affiliate marketer, Scott Jangro posted about using the app earlier this morning, so I asked him the same question:

Twitter conversation: Prussakov & Jangro

The “geek factor” is definitely something Scott and I would appreciate, but what about an average consumer or mobile device owner? I liked Frank Reed’s line of thought where in reply to my comment under his morning post at MarketingPilgrim.com he wrote that presence of “future discounts or offers that were only given to mobile pay users” would appear as “true value add and a reason for people to adopt it more readily”. Exactly!

I am also a bit surprised that as of the time of this post (10:43 am EST) Starbucks is yet to tweet about this big launch.

This is undoubtedly a very neat product/solution, but not so great of a launch. Or am I being to critical here?

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