Starbucks App Could Be the Next Mobile Wallet

Starbucks is looking to become the next mobile wallet, according to the Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman.

The current rewards app allows customers to purchase drinks and reload funds all from a mobile phone. Customers who use the app regularly receive rewards like free birthday drinks and free refills on iced coffee and tea. However, Brotman claims that the company is looking to boost its game by planning out future improvements to their app.

Pick-up Orders

Starbucks will be releasing an update later this year that allows customers to place take away orders via their mobile device, which may help reduce the peak hour waits as people head in to the office or step out for lunch.

Customers have been calling for this functionality for quite some time, and Starbucks is finally ready to deliver. However, there are certain risks involved—like cold coffee or watery drinks that have sat out for too long. Brotman reassures that the company is attempting to “…get things down to a science,” and Starbucks will iron out any problems that arise as features roll out to the public.

The New Mobile Wallet

In combination with all the new features on the table, Starbucks is also in talks with several potential partners about letting customers use its app to make purchases in other stores and extend their customer loyalty app to reap rewards on other brands. Though these potential partners haven’t been announced and remain a mystery, the scope of the project appears to be fairly wide.

Brotman hopes that by broadening Starbucks’ horizons via the app, customers will begin to use the app more while gaining more loyal consumers at Starbucks stores.

What App Developers Can Learn

Mobile users all over the globe are looking for increased functionality in one app. Starbucks’ aim for diversity in the mobile space makes it an app that feeds an existing need while creating a demand. Reap rewards by purchasing drinks, and customers may be able to use those rewards in other stores or with other brands.

While this concept may be difficult for start-ups to achieve, building a relationship with fellow companies on the same level could benefit your app in huge ways. For example, Starbucks rewards can be earned and apply to purchases from its Teavana stores. Connecting the stores in this way adds an entirely new customer base to its app’s functionality and fills the existing need for Teavana rewards. Parent companies can really benefit from this, but smaller companies should investigate partnering up to meet unique needs.

Developers should note that Starbucks’ app is free to use; if free isn’t the way to go for your company, consider creating two versions of the app—a lite, free version and a full-scale version for $0.99 or so.

More importantly, Starbucks is aiming to make a big impact on the lives of their customers with this app and its future plans. Think of ways in which your company can do the same—if you’re selling a service, is it possible to allow app users some exclusive rewards or benefits? In what ways can you incorporate customer loyalty in your app?


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