The Starbucks App for the iPhone is not a new thing, they are been using mobile payments since October 2009. Its customers could use their iPhone to pay their Espressos in 16 specific trial stores located in Target stores, in Seattle and California.

But now Starbucks has taken its mobile services one step further, by announcing the extension of this program to over 1000 Starbucks stores nationwide, all located in Target stores.

How does it work? It is very simple: the iPhone or the iPod is the Starbucks Card. In other words, when users type their card number, a barcode appears on your screen, that allows the customer to scan their screen exactly as they would scan the Starbucks Card. The application not only lets customers pay in these stores, but also check your balance and reload their card – by entering their credit card number. By simply entering their card number, they could have access to their balance, get special offers like coffee refills, and two hours of AT&T WiFi each day… for free.

Even though everybody talks about mobile payment, it still is a nascent market. For instance, the industry is still dealing with the security issue. But overall, mobile payment trials seem to have proven rather effective. On the retailers’ side, mobile payment truly is efficient: it is quick, reduces costs, and it reinforces customers’ loyalty, starting by the simple fact that they always have their loyalty card with them on their iPhone.

What is interesting about the Starbucks Card Mobile Application is that it isn’t a Mobile credit card payment. One of the reasons why the industry is still thinking about how to make mobile payment attractive to consumers, Starbucks, Apple and AT&T have found a smart alternative way of using mobile payment technology. Since it works as a loyalty card, and does not require the use of the credit card, customers are less skeptical about it!  The other point is that this kind of application makes users familiar with the use of mobile devices to make purchase – which might be a first step to the broader adoption of mobile payment.

By Frédéric Tardy