With the introduction of payment via mobile and a new and updated app, is this a new mobile era for Starbucks?

What opportunities are there for other retailers to follow suit?

I love Starbucks and am a regular down at my local Starbucks(s) (note the plural).

I was very impressed to see this month that the company has embraced mobile technology throughout its stores with gusto.

As the New Year rolled in, Starbucks rolled out a new app which allowed people to register their Starbucks card and then, with some new mobile scanners installed, pay in-store with their mobile phones.
Starbucks has clearly decided that mobile is the way forward with what must have been a large infrastructure investment, although it has decided not to bother with near field communication (NFC) as yet.

Whether this is because a large number of their customers are IOS users which doesn’t currently have this built in, time will tell.
Already, one in five of Starbucks customers pay for their purchases using their reward card, enticed by the offers of free Wi-Fi and a free drink as a reward for 15 in-store visits. 

With this new app, my debit card is linked to my reward card, which is linked to my phone, so when I am in desperate need of a coffee, or a calming half hour in Starbucks, all I need is my phone, which I’m never without.
Why would I now pay for my Starbucks any other way?
The additional data capture possibilities for Starbucks are endless…

•    Data such as favourite drinks, date of birth.
•    Frequently visited stores and number of visits.
•    Purchase trends and segmented customers.
•    Dynamic offers, promotions and communications. 

I’m sure mobile will be a success for Starbucks, and will pave the way for more retailers to invest in mobile technologies, which ultimately, make purchasing easier for customers.
But what could this mean for other retailers, both on our streets and off?
Here’s just some of our more immediate predictions:

  • Clothes retailers marketing accessories and additional pieces to create a capsule wardrobe depending on previous purchase history via mobile connection?
  • Lunch chains to develop mobile ordering, with instore collection and payment via mobile.
  • Development of webcam technology to allow e-commerce purchases by showing a mobile screen to your webcam.

Starbucks has really set the mobile commerce bar high for 2012.

My prediction? This is the year that retailers and the public will embrace mobile for mutual satisfaction.