One in four Starbucks transactions now done via card, including mobile

Dec 6, 2011
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It hasn’t even been a year since coffee giant Starbucks rolled out its various mobile apps, notably on Apple’s iOS platform as well as Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, and it seems customers who love coffee love the apps as well. The Starbucks app has a number of cool features on the iPhone […]

It hasn’t even been a year since coffee giant Starbucks rolled out its various mobile apps, notably on Apple’s iOS platform as well as Google’s Android and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, and it seems customers who love coffee love the apps as well.

The Starbucks app has a number of cool features on the iPhone and iPad, but the most notable and possibly most convenient is the ability to use the app as a rechargeable Starbucks card. The app places a barcode on the screen of your device of choice, allowing users to make their coffee purchases at Starbucks stores using nothing but their smartphones. Starbucks says one in every four transactions at a Starbucks store is executed using the mobile app, according to a story from Mashable.

In total, that means there have been more than 26 million transactions using Starbucks apps since they were rolled out less than a year ago. The frequency of transactions is increasing as well, Mashable reports: in the nine weeks after the apps were launched, there were three million transactions that used them. During the past nine weeks, there have been six million app-using transactions. Starbucks hasn’t said how many people have actually downloaded the apps, other than to say “millions,” but a spokesman did note that New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and San Jose, Calif., were the top cities for app transactions.

There seems to be quite a bit of money for the company in the apps, too. Starbucks says $110 million has been loaded onto Starbucks cards using the app, which is basically money in the bank for the company. A total of $2.4 billion was added to Starbucks cards during 2011, by comparison.

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Starbucks has had a lot of success with mobile apps in 2011, not just its primary offering. Another Starbucks app, an augmented reality title called Starbucks Cup Magic, has seen 450,000 uses since it was released, and has been used by 91 percent of the people who have downloaded it.

It’s a pretty involved success story for Starbucks when it comes to apps. The company has discovered something that customers respond to and that makes purchasing coffee a lot easier for many of them. Starbucks’ success is a good model for other businesses – find something that works well for customers, and it seems they’ll respond readily.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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