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How Starbucks App drives faster service, bolsters brand loyalty

The move from cards to phone payments is upon us. Who wants to carry multiple cards in a bulging wallet when your loyalty/credit cards can all be virtually stored? Starbucks has figured out and implemented the technology and marketing strategy across North America. Starbucks understands the value of innovative marketing – and it continues to demonstrate how it is an expert in brand management (and the important role social media plays).

Their ‘surface’ objective is to simplify the customer experience, so shoppers would not need to carry so many cards and keep up with membership reward numbers in their wallets, etc… Here’s what Brady Brewer, Vice President for the Starbucks card and brand loyalty had to say, “We’re providing them with the fastest way to pay.”

How the App works:
Using the Starbucks app, you hold your phone up to scan in a bar code that appears at the cash register when you go to pay. The code automatically ensures the correct payment is taken off the registered Starbucks card that you have linked to the app.

9 Quick Facts of what the Starbucks App can do:

  1. Check your card balance and reload your Starbucks card
  2. Track your Stars in the My Starbucks Rewards program
  3. Scan bar code on your smartphone at the register
  4. Search nearby store outlets, based on amenities offered
  5. Learn about their coffee beans
  6. Find nutrition information
  7. Build your own perfect drink
  8. Share location or favorite drink through Facebook and Twitter
  9. Search for a job at Starbucks

Yes, the app is robust (pun intended). However, I suspect there is another angle. Starbucks wants to stay relevant and continue to engage its customers in new ways. They know their target audience and continue to find new ways of reaching them.  They are focused on smartphone owners, which it says make up a third of its customers.

Part of this marketing strategy is how Starbucks has embraced social media into their marketing programs. Whether you are in the trial or strategic stage, social media can be a valuable tool in converting leads to sales. Social media is about getting others to tell your story. What is your story?

Marketing Tip: The trick is to know your audience and to be relevant.

NewsFlash – Starbucks jumps into juice market
Starbucks is all about customer experience using innovative and wholesome products. Announced yesterday, Starbucks Coffee Company  acquired Evolution Fresh, Inc. Starbucks has been making the move to healthier products by expanding their menu items – they want to deliver nutritious, on-the-go options that consumers seek. With this acquisition, Starbucks plans to reinvent the $1.6 billion super-premium juice segment, its significant next step in entering the larger $50 billion Health and Wellness sector.

Leveraging Starbucks unique business model – retail footprint, CPG grocery distribution channels, digital breadth and in-depth customer engagement – Starbucks believes it can take a currently undifferentiated, commoditized product segment and introduce a unique, high-quality product that will redefine and grow the super-premium juice market.  By the way, Jamba Juice, founded in 1990, has over 700 locations worldwide and in 2010 saw $254.5 million in revenue.

“Our intent is to build a national Health and Wellness brand leveraging our scale, resources and premium product expertise. Bringing Evolution Fresh into the Starbucks family marks an important step forward in this pursuit,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO. “Over the last year-and-a-half we have looked comprehensively at possible opportunities and chose Evolution Fresh because it stood above anything else in terms of premium quality, nutrition and potential for growth.”

It’s no wonder that it dropped its Starbucks Coffee name from the logo. Now the brand can exercise its freedom to diversify.



Marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, helps businesses and associations, across North America, grow. Focus is on innovative marketing and communications strategies. Ottawa marketing customized to fit your specific business needs.

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