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Starbucks leads the way for mobile payments

Point-of-Sale mobile payments at Starbucks reached $1 billion in 2013. The focus on mobile coupons and loyalty programs with the Starbucks mobile payment app was a major factor in sustaining 5 million weekly transactions across 10 million users at U.S. stores.

With 18,000 stores in over 50 countries Starbucks are indubitably successful. Their recipe for convenience, consistency, and ambiance paired with reliable Wi-Fi connections has become a model for countless other corporations. They might also be paving the road to commonly accepted POS mobile payment systems.

Starbucks’ app lets customers pay for their daily coffee in a quick and easy way, but also offers discounts, links to a rewards program, and allows consumers to refill loyalty accounts with a few taps. The app doesn’t just act as a digital wallet; Macworld reports that customers who buy breakfast often can get breakfast offerings. While most consumers frown upon being battered by promotions, getting promotions that are actually useful and wanted both can and will lead to purchases.

The same motto of convenience and consistency that made the stores so popular work well in the mobile channel as well. Putting customer experience at the top of the list allowed the Starbucks app to generate $1 billion in transactions in 2013. These are in-store transactions that Starbucks customers complete by using their phones at the register.

To many consumers, a mobile payment app in itself might hold limited appeal. If the app comes with added benefits making for a more pleasant shopping experience and maybe even discounts, users are likely to seek it out. While Starbucks was able to manage this through their own app, mobile wallets that can be used at the point-of-sale with many different merchants offer similar capabilities for coupons and loyalty program management. As Google Wallet, ISIS, the mobile wallets offered by the card associations, and several other mobile wallet initiatives continue to grow, we may see more emphasis on coupon and loyalty program services following the success of mobile point-of-sale payments with Starbucks.

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