After my last post about the importance of mobile marketing and best practices, I also wanted to highlight one of the leaders in mobile marketing – Starbucks – and why they are so successful.
First and foremost, Starbucks has spent countless hours researching its consumers’ buying habits and developed a strategy that reaches consumers where they are – mobile devices. The basis of Starbucks’ genius is – of course – its app. The app gives Starbucks the ability to not only interact and engage with customers, but also collect information on its customers’ wants and needs. The App allows customers to place orders, locate stores, hold gift card information and receive rewards from its loyalty program. The simplicity, ease of use, discounts and rewards help retain customers since they need to keep continuously using the app to reap the benefits.
Its in-app loyalty program is one of the key components of Starbucks’ success. Its loyalty program has eliminated the need for stamp cards and moved everything to the mobile app. While Starbucks was not the first to do this, they have been able to effectively personalize incentives that increase customers’ use on the app and buying habits to earn rewards. Each time a purchase is made, the customer earns a star. Once a certain amount of stars are earned, the consumer is eligible for more benefits. Additionally, Starbuck utilizes its most engaged customers for surveys in exchange for stars. This increased usage on the app translates into more data collected and more consumer insights for Starbucks.
In addition to its mobile app, Starbuck effectively utilizes many other components to round out its mobile strategy. For its mobile advertising campaign, Starbuck utilizes large rich media ads instead of smaller static ads that people often accidentally tap. These larger ads expand to fill the full screen and are interactive, encouraging users to engage with the brand. It also utilizes a SMS in its mobile strategy to capture customers who don’t use its mobile app to promote seasonal specials and drive customers to locations. It is also another channel for Starbucks to send rewards to customers who do not use the mobile app. The success behind all of these tactics is Starbucks’ ability to be creative and think beyond the traditional ways of advertising.
Moving beyond the advertising and mobile apps, Starbuck has taken mobile convenience one-step further by introducing mobile payments and on the go ordering. Customers are now able to use their smartphones to pay. All they need to do is shake their phone for the payment barcode to display. In addition to mobile payments, Starbucks began rolling out its mobile order and pay feature last year. The mobile ordering system allows customers to order and pay before arriving to a Starbucks location. The additionally benefits and effectiveness of these new features was summed up perfectly by Adam Brotman , Starbucks Chief Digital Officer:
“Bringing Mobile Order and Pay to our customers is about meeting their needs of convenience and customization at any time of the day. The fact that is also represents the fastest technology application rollout we have ever done is indicative of the strength of our digital ecosystem, how well it has been received by both our customers and store partners and the impact we think it can have on the future of retail.”
In order to make all of these mobile innovations happen, Starbuck invests heavily in the latest technology. It also pays careful attention to what its customers are saying via social media. Starbucks closely monitors tweets, posts, and trending items to remedy any problems, deeply connect with customers, and creatively utilize user-generated feedback. It has been named Mobile Marketer of the Year multiple times and seen usage of its Mobile Order and Pay double year over year to over 8 million transactions a month. Additionally, it has seen membership grow by 16% and member spending increase by 22% in the last year. Starbucks continues to be a mobile leader by capitalizing on consumer insights, testing out new products, and developing new technology that takes its customers’ experiences to the next level. Starbucks doesn’t just follow trends, it makes them. The next experience that the company is testing is its coffee delivery service, however, it is said to be in the very early phases.
I’m not sure how many of you use the Starbucks app, but if you do you know just how amazing it is. For me, most mornings start by opening the app and seeing my most recent orders. I’m then able to confirm my order and choose the store where I would like to pick it up. I then pay for everything via the app and my coffee is waiting for me 5 minutes later. There is no waiting in line, no hassle, and extremely convenient – I love it! Have you had similar experiences with the app? Are there other apps that provide a great customer experience that you love?