December 8, 2012

The Starbucks App

Here in Colorado the cold has set in and the local Starbucks is booming with activity. Driving the overall cheerfulness in the store is the beautiful red everywhere; signage, aprons, Christmas blend coffee, bags and cups. As we shop our way through the month of December, a stop at Starbucks is a required pick-me-up, so though a food service store, I still feel the #RetailLove for Starbucks. And let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a Starbucks gift card in their stocking?

I am a Starbucks enthusiast, so I notice all the little changes and the one that has peaked my interest has been the increase in the number of people paying with their phones. I assumed it was the Starbucks app, so I decided to give it a go.

This is a great all inclusive app. From the home screen I have several options including; my favorites, coffees, food, drink and I can adjust my settings for the app. Under favorites I have the options to enter my favorite stores, coffee blends, foods, drinks and even my friends favorite drinks – I love that feature since it seems I am usually the one running to Starbucks on the weekends for everyone and I always forget what they like.

The most fun was the drink builder: It included almost every option you could think of and it was fun to watch my Starbucks cup dynamically change as I made my drink selections. Once the drink I created was complete I was able to save the drink to a name. The tall, kids temperature, whole milk, peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint whipped cream was saved under my son’s name.

One of the all-inclusive features of the app is the rewards program. Even as often as I visit Starbucks I have never signed up, so I figured it is time. This was shockingly easy! Here is the interesting part. You load your rewards card from PayPal or another payment source, and then you manage the balance and rewards on the card directly from the app. There are good and bad points to this, but overall I like it. The Starbucks app even asked if I wanted to save my Starbucks Rewards Card to Passbook for me.

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One last fun part of this app – I am able to send eGifts directly from the app. Your delivery method is either email or Facebook, payment is made via PayPal, you have the option of entering a short message and off your gift goes! Love this primarily because I am able to deliver a gift to anyone at ANY time and my app keeps track of it for me.

Obviously as a customer I adore this app, but as a marketer I am in awe. This is true data collection and an opportunity for Starbucks to get to know their customers at an all new level. The local stores do build a relationship with their customers and the employees do a fantastic job at this, however at a corporate level, they know very little about the customers on a one-one level. At a corporate level they now know if I downloaded the free pick of the week music, how much money I am loading on my rewards card, my favorite drinks, how often I buy drinks for my friends, if I the offers they send are being accepted and if/when I send eGifts. Since Starbucks corporate is sending offers via the app, with every use of this app, the offers they send me will be more timely and relevant to my personal Starbucks experience.

As a consumer and a marketer I have good reason to enjoy Starbucks this holiday season (well all year actually), but I am interested in your experience. What is your #retailLove experience with Starbucks?

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