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Starbucks to Release Updated Mobile App March 19

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

March 17, 2014

Starbucks to Release Updated Mobile App March 19

By Christopher Mohr
TMCnet Contributing Writer

Starbucks Coffee Company announced on Wednesday that an enhanced version of its iPhone (News - Alert) app would arrive the following week. Enhancements include digital tipping, ‘Shake to Pay’ and better access to rewards accounts.

The current version allows users to locate the nearest store, view their rewards status and to link Starbucks cards to the app and display a barcode, which can be read to collect payment.

Although the barcode is a great feature, getting it to display can be a hassle. It’s especially bad when going through the drive-thru or inside with a line of 50 impatient people behind you. The new ‘Shake to Pay’ feature will display the barcode immediately when the user shakes their smartphone and the app is running.

Digital tipping, as its name suggests, allows tips of 50 cents, $1 or $2 to be made through the app, eliminating the need to fumble for coins or currency.

Starbucks is spreading the word about the upcoming revision with promotional cards in its stores. Anyone with the current iPhone app simply needs to perform an update. The Android (News - Alert) version of the updated app won’t be available until after the iPhone version comes out.

As more users install these apps and pay for their coffee orders using their smartphones, many benefits will come into play. Customers will pay for their orders more quickly, which allows the store to handle more traffic per hour.

The digital tipping feature not only makes tips more efficient, but it also will save on labor. Every week a barista spends considerable time sorting money from the plastic tip boxes and allocating tips based each co-worker’s share of the total man hours worked. That task may not completely go away soon, but it would take less time as more customers used digital tipping.

This experience could be taken to a whole new level if it was possible to order food and drinks through the app, store drink preferences and back order collectible merchandise that’s on back order or sells out during the holidays.

Starbucks has always been about the customer experience, especially since selling a cup of coffee by itself is hardly a novel idea. It’s only natural that the company uses the same approach with technology. Lots of retailers are doing the same thing. It’s much less expensive to retain customers than to market for new ones. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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