Starbucks to Add Mobile Ordering, Shake to Pay to iPhone App


Starbucks, the coffee giant that continues to provide gourmet coffee drinks at a premium price, is jumping into the realm of mobile ordering.  The chain is adding mobile ordering and shake to pay to its iPhone app, and this added bit of functionality will allow those looking for their Venti extra frothy skinny latte to order before they even get to their Starbucks of choice.

Starbucks sees over 10 million of its customers making use of the app, and customers have been asking for the ability to pre-order for some time, according to Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman.  He says that the company has been “actively working” on customers’ ability to pre-order, whether while in line at the store or before they get to their Starbucks of choice.

Also on the coffee chain’s agenda is allowing customers in the US the ability to tip their baristas and a shake to pay function.  While that versatility will be hitting the chain’s iPhone app update effective March 19, and come into effect for 7,000 of Starbucks’ 11,000 US stores, the Android updated version of the app will be released later this year.

11 percent of the payments made to Starbucks are through its mobile app, and the coffee company has been one that pioneered m-payment for widespread use.  In addition to mobile ordering and shake to pay being added to Starbucks iPhone and Android apps, customers in the US, the UK and Canada will have the opportunity to take advantage of the shake to pay option and be able to see a more streamlined view of their rewards that they have earned.

Starbucks customers will also have the opportunity to send a Starbucks card eGift through the app, and given the growing number of those who are making use of either the iPhone or Android apps, this should only encourage those who enjoy the coffee products and pastries on offer at Starbucks to continue to return and order from the facility.

Users of the app can also see their promotions and number of daily transactions daily in the updated Starbucks app.  The company also has a firm partnership and investment in Square, a mobile payments company.  Introduced in 2010 in the US, the firm was introduced in Canada at the end of 2012 and has partnered with Starbucks as a way of helping the company process credit and debit card payments.  To date, Square Wallet is only able to process US-based payments.

In updating its app for iPhone and for Android, Starbucks is allowing their customers throughout Canada, the US and the UK the opportunity to order while they are waiting in line or on their way to the popular coffee house.  Brotman notes that Starbucks is determined to streamline the coffee purchasing experience for its patrons, which as of right now involves clients swiping through several pages to get to the Starbucks card in order to pay.  By offering options such as shake to pay and mobile ordering, Starbucks is streamlining the payment and purchasing process and as a result, should see even more numbers pass through its doors due to its increasing innovation in the world of m-payments.

By Christina St-Jean



Financial Post